Oh what a month this has been. The days have flown by leaving me here, the last day of October, with not nearly as many photos edited as I had planned and not nearly as many projects completed as I would have liked to have had done.
Fortunately I was able to get my Halloween set done for the kids, which in all honesty turned out to be OK. A little more testing, an additional light, etc, etc and it would have been perfect. NOT. The thing is when using your own children as subjects they tend to not have that “I must be on my best behavior” attitude. They also don’t come to the shoot with any kind of wow this is interesting, because it isn’t new to them. In fact my son assisted in most of the setup. And by assisted, you guessed it, he made sure Team UmiZoomi and Blues Clues were still accessible on the studio TV.
Remember when I said I didn’t get all my photos edited. Yup, this is one of the ones I was referring to. So, this is the image I put up on my facebook page, but not what I thought was the best image that I was hoping to have done for this post.Equipment: Nikon D700, Nikon 24-70 Post Processing: Aperture, Nik Color Efex Pro, Photoshop
The final image that I had in my minds eye had a lot more smoke. In fact there was a lot more smoke in this scene just a few minutes before this image was taken. The thing is that when working with infants you sometimes just have to go by their schedule. Little Catarina decided moments before you shoot that she needed to eat and have one last diaper change. But all things being what they were I really couldn’t be happier with shots I got.
The set is really fairly simple. I used my black muslim on a backdrop stand so everything behind the props would go black. The light up pumpkins I have had for about a decade now. They are sitting on top of a cardboard box covered with a black scarf from Target. The two cauldrons I were picked up from Party City ($5, I think). They were also sitting on cardboard boxes covered with burlap fabric and some spooky netting I picked up at Wal-Mart for a couple bucks. Cat is laying on about a yard of black fabric and a pillow. Brady is stirring Dry Ice and water. The scene is lit with three lights (I wish I had one more for this one). One left of camera with a 20° grid to light Brady and Cat. One Right of Cat with Barn Doors and a red gel for the background and then a speedlight left of scene with a yellow gel and snoot to pop just a bit of light behind Brady. The fog machine (which is hard to tell is even working in this shot) is venting fog into a Styrofoam cooler filled with ice, then tubed to the scene floor. The cooled fog helps keep it low laying.
As for the shot I was using a 24-70 f2.8 at about 50mm. I shot at f8 at a 60th of a second so I could get the illumination of the pumpkins in the shot. The post processing was done with photoshop and NIK Color Efex Pro. I used Photoshop to increase the illumination of the kids. I used the NIK plug-ins Tonal Contrast to increase sharpness and details and Midnight to selectively add more black into the scene.
A quick tip. Party City normally discounts all their seasonal Halloween items by 50% the day after Halloween. This is a great time to buy fog machines and fog juice if your willing to store it for a year.