The execution, however, was something that I had to study and really decide how I best wanted to perform it with the equipment I had and what I could get cheap on Amazon. First thing to conceive was the lighting concept. I wanted to just use a grey background in studio, so to give it some depth, we used to reflective umbrellas on our old Alien Bee units. One at a slightly higher/lower power than the other to provide some lighting depth and difference across the backdrop. Next, I knew I needed a backlight that was still nice and soft, but would make the snow and haze “pop” a little more in the image so I slapped a beauty dish out on one of our Einstein lights and put it behind the subject at about 7-8’ in the air angling down a bit to create some depth and act like our “sun” in the background. Finally, the main light was a 69” Elinchrom octabox to the camera left, close to the subject, about 7’ in the air with a slight angle downward and feathered off of the subject. It was very similar to Joey’s set up on creativeLive, but we used the number of lights we have and the flat grey backdrop we had available.
With the lights out of the way, I went about finding a snow machine and haze machine on Amazon that wouldn’t cost me too much and would get the job done. I like to try to get as much done in camera as possible since I’m not a Photoshop guru by any means and I truly believe that in-camera vs. post-processing always looks a little more realistic. So, I was able to purchase a snow machine for about $130 on Amazon and a small fog machine for $35 along with some extra fluid for each machine. Both worked perfect for the small set we had and I was able to get both for less than it would have cost to rent either one online for a 4 day period. Now I own a snow machine and fogger if the need should ever arise again! But, back to the set-up…
We brought back our good buddy Lain to help out again as well as my good friend Cody (who was kind enough to supply us with some BTS photos for this post) to run the fog and snow so we could concentrate on the lights and shooting the images. Lain was up on a ladder so he could shoot the snow up in the air and give it a falling effect, and Cody ran the fogger from a remote to give us enough haze to really add some depth and make it appear more like a fog day or grey/white out conditions on the mountain. Without an actual backdrop in Colorado, it worked out perfectly for the set we were hoping to create!
We rented out The Houston Studio again for a good working studio space, and shot with our Canon 5D Mark III tethered directly into CaptureOne for image capture and preview as we shot. I love shooting like this as it allows me to add small effects and really get the sense that my lighting and image capture is as spot on in camera as I can possibly get it.
For the shoot, we both loaded up in our snow gear and used my snowboard as a prop and had a blast capturing each other and taking some fun photos that we could enjoy and share with y’all as well. It’s always great to see how it feels in front of the camera every once in a while and I’m already thinking about and looking forward to what we can come up with for next year!
- Camera: Canon 5D Mark III
- Lens: Canon 50mm f/1.2L
- Lights: Paul C Buff Einsteins and Alien Bees
- Modifiers: (2) Reflective Umbrellas, (1) Silver Beauty Dish with Sock, (1) 69” Elinchrom Rotalux Octabox
- Others: Snow Machine & Fog Machine
- Post-Processing: RAW in CaptureOne, Color Grading in Photoshop
- Special Thanks: Lain Grant and Cody Hampshire
- Studio: The Houston Studio