How I Got the Shot: Justin Piccari

Posted by: on May 27, 2020

How I Got the Shot: Justin Piccari

What was the concept of the shoot?

Xoe and I wanted to do something epic to celebrate her 2-year anniversary of losing her leg. After talking about some ideas (and feasibility), I came up with the idea of her bursting through the background, like she’s entering a new and unknown world from her old life. I loved combining the futuristic/sci-fi feel with Xoe’s strength and message.

What setup and lighting did you use to get the shot

This was a three light setup shot with strobes. I used a light up front to get her face/body, a Rim light to pop her left side, and a rear light shot through diffusion to blow light through the hole we tore in the background material.

How did shooting tethered help you achieve the shot you wanted?

Being able to not only see what I’m shooting, but show the model is a huge advantage, so tethering is a must. There are some obvious and specific challenges of working with adaptive models. We pushed pretty hard on this shoot to overcome the physical challenge of how Xoe can balance and shift weight on her prosthetic. Tethering made it so much easier to be able to show her the dynamic difference between the two poses so we could choose if pushing past each one of those physical limitations was a worthwhile decision.

What was your biggest challenge?

By far the biggest challenge was dealing with physical limitations. One of my favorite parts of working with Xoe is how easy it is to communicate with her. She’s up for anything and allows me to push her abilities, but clearly communicates her limits so we stay safe and comfortable and get amazing shots. So we were able to work together to push past what she thought she was capable of, to a point that we could achieve something greater than we knew! Fortunately, we had the concept and I knew exactly how I wanted to light it, so we were able to focus our energy directly on the challenge at hand and come up with a spectacular shot.

What type of post-processing was involved?

This shot actually had very little in terms of post. The SOOC shot was almost exactly what I wanted, so most post work was on minor skin cleaning and my contrasting work to make the lighting effects pop just a little bit more.

What was the logistics and/or gear needed to achieve this shot?

The main pieces were my Sony a7RIII and the 24-70mm f/2.8 GMaster lens. I had two Godox AD200’s lighting the front, the rim light with a 18×60 strip box and a beauty dish up front. I over-laid a Beauty Gel from Rosco to cut the white light for a peachier skin tone up front, letting the rim light and back light be the bright 55K white. The back light was an AD600 punched to full power with the 88” GLOW Wing-like modifier. The Background paper was 86” Savage Universal Black and behind that was a roll of Rosco 216 Diffusion paper.  Behind the background I also had two Matthews C-Stands anchored with Matthews sandbags so that Xoe had something to hold onto/balance with as she leaned forward. I was tethered to Capture One with a Tether Tools 15’ Cable.

Who was involved and how did they play a part in the shoot (ex: makeup, assistant, digital tech., etc.)?

The only crew was myself and model Xoe Xapoian (@xoexxapoian).