The below article is from Lauren Athalia, a fashion, advertising, and commercial photographer based in Nashville, Tennessee. Follow her online at www.laurenathalia.com and on Instagram at @laurenathalia.We thank Lauren for pulling back the curtain on her latest shoot and contributing to the How I Got the Shot Guide: Women’s Edition!
The concept for this shoot was to create a scaled down version of an interactive art exhibit that I had participated in a few years ago. In the exhibit, there was a room full of white plastic balls and people of all ages were submerged in them as if they were swimming. I noticed the lighting was so beautiful in that room and it was such a sensory-filled moment that left me inspired. So for this shoot, I wanted to remember that experience but bring in a more vibrant color and apply it to my specialty of fashion and advertise photography.
SETUP AND LIGHTING
The large light sources created by the Paul C. Buff, Inc. Einstein Flash Units, outfitted with the 86” Soft Silver PLM Umbrellas with the white front diffusion fabric added, gave me the coverage and control that I needed. The lightstands were position on the left and right of the subject. The umbrellas were angled slightly down onto the model.
The biggest challenge was posing the model in the ball pit. Every time the model moved the entire set shifted. So my team was constantly working to fill in the negative spaces and rearrange the model who was lying on her side partially submerged. I had to be very aware of how the clothing and poses worked together because they look very different in a horizontal position versus vertical. We eventually embraced that our model naturally appeared to be in motion and pushed that idea further by arranging her clothes, shape, and prop. So the final image boggles the viewer’s mind for a moment and makes them wonder if she is running or sinking.
Using Tether Tools on a shoot like this is imperative! Not only does it allow for me to see my images on a larger screen, it also allows for my team and I to make in-person edits. This was so convenient as I was 10 ft. in the air on a lift and couldn’t make changes to the set easily. But I could see the screen and so could my team which allowed us to work more efficiently.
I cull all of my images with Adobe Lightroom and then bring my favorites into Adobe Photoshop for further tweaking. The biggest edit was filling in the background with more orange plastic balls. Apparently, 1,000 balls were not enough to fill the frame.
LOGISTICS AND GEAR
Logistically, I knew I would need plenty of room to work and some sort of lift to get above my model. Furthermore, I also knew I would need some sort of container for the orange plastic balls but I wanted something cheap and perhaps something I could toss in the trash afterward. I used a children’s plastic swimming pool which was successful in containing and plenty of room for one subject.