Afternoon (de)light

It's only February, but 2016 is already rolling in with a bang! It's been nonstop testing, personal projects, marketing and networking as I settle into the new digs. I've also managed to sneak in a few editorial publications, and even landed a photo and shout out in British Vogue, in a feature on Philly's own designer Autumn Lin Kietponglert (

I'd also like to extend a big thank you to the team over at who reblogged my previous post on Color grading--I'd encourage you to go check out their site for some awesome tutorials!

Alright enough of that, let’s talk about this retro themed shoot with Genevieve at Muse Models I did a few weeks ago! Lately I've been inspired a lot by great cinematography. You know when you watch a film and you don’t actually remember any of it because you’ve been too distracted by deconstructing the lighting or studying the color palette? Or is that just me…Anyway, I’ve been trying to make my images feel more cinematic--like you've hit the pause button on your tv. Because of that, I've been trying to think more like a cinematographer and treating my spaces more like movie sets—this means staging the scene and setting up the lights so your subject can have a little more autonomy to move around and focus on getting into character, rather than being confined to a specific pose by an inflexible lighting setup.

Sometimes set inspiration is hard to find...sometimes, you find it literally right in your kitchen. I moved into the 70s ranch which has an almost original kitchen, complete with that lovely yellowy wood and white laminate countertops. While it's not going to win any home decor awards, I thought it would make an awesome set for a retro "scene". Keeping in that seventies spirit, we opted for some Farah Fawcett curls and some tiny lace up red hot pants for our model Genevieve, and poured her a glass of bourbon (just for effect, of course).

The vibe I was going for here was kind of a warm moody light—maybe the afternoon before a big night at Studio 54 (or perhaps the morning after). To achieve this look, I opted for a white shoot through umbrella outside the dining room window, with some sheers over the window to add some diffusion to mimic a golden hour sun. The light was also gelled with a full stop CTO to add that warmth and to bring out the wood tones in the cabinetry and the skin tone of our model. There is an additional light out the kitchen window (above the sink) which I originally intended to be strobed and gelled as well, but I had a bit of a technical snafu (I was short a receiver and couldn't get the optical flash to work), so I just blasted the modeling light (which also has a warm color temperature) through a long throw reflector. Finally, I cranked up the fog machine inside which helped to diffuse the light a bit more and created some atmospheric haze.

The beauty of this lighting setup is that you can get a variety of different looks depending on where you place your model, but they all work and they all fit with the general story you’re trying to tell. To start, we had Genevieve facing towards the dining room window, and it looks like she’s awash with the afternoon sun. Because of the warm monochrome palette we created in camera, there was really very little post work that needed to be done. The first look with Genevieve in the red shorts are basically SOOC, which only some very minor skin work done in Photoshop. The second, more backlit looks, I ended up toning down the orange a bit and making her a bit more gold, using a couple desaturation and color layers in PS.

So there you have it! All in all, I’m pretty happy with how these turned out, and hope you all enjoy them as well!