Fashion Advertising Imagery - How I shot it!

Atlanta, GA Lifestyle Photographer, Atlanta, GA Lifestyle Director
"How I Shot It," scroll down below the photo
Fashion Photography

About the Image

Fashion Photography, Steve Thornton

This on location fashion photograph was shot in Nesso, Italy on Lake Como. Note the strobe light is very limited in the area it is illuminating. This is due to how close the softbox is to the model and our using the LightTools 40° grid. By constraining the light, we are able to add drama to the image. 

Gabby, the model, was an amazing mover, nonstop and with poise and grace.

Fashion Photography, Steve Thornton

About 2 years before we shot here, I was driving from Como to Bellagio, both are on Lake Como in Northern Italy. It was a glorious spring day and all of the windows rolled down as I am driving in a town named Nesso. I crossed a small bridge and I thought I heard water running. Straight ahead there was a parking place and I stopped. I got out and walked back and I saw 3 waterfalls. I went to the car, and grabbed my camera bag and tripod and started shooting... a lot. When I walked back to the car, there was a gentleman and he motioned me to follow him. The door you see in the photo, is marked "private property". He opened the door and waved me through. There I was on the edge of a briskly running creek in front of me, another large creek to my right and several across the way. I slowly moved from point to point as there were no safety barriers and everything was wet. I walked out of the door and closed it behind me.

There was a elderly woman with a cane waiting for me, she motioned to follow her up the stairs. She opened a door and it was her apartment. I walked in and she walked to the balcony and pointed up and said, "castlleo", castle in English. I looked and sure enough there was a castle there.

I took photos and just before leaving, I asked the woman for her address so I could send her a print, which when I got back to the US, I did.

2-3 years later I was shooting in this area and a middle aged man asked me if I was the photographer who sent a print to a woman that lived here. I said yes and he waved has hand to follow him up the the same apartment. On the wall was the print I had sent. He is the son of the woman that had lived in that same apartment for over 50 years.

You can see the waterfalls and the castle in the last photo below.

I did not make it to Bellagio, having spent a good part of the day in Nesso.

Fashion Photography, Steve Thornton

See photo 2 below, it shows the light on the wall turned off. We shot this in the middle of the day. I "Turned it on" in Photoshop. The trick to doing this is not to just turn on the light, it is to make it look real by "Modeling" the light that you would expect when light passes through the glass in the fixture. Also the color of the light will be warmer.

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Photo 2

See Photo 3 below. The lighting setup took several minutes.

Photo 3

See Photo 4. This was the first test exposure, and it was ugly, it is flat, light is everywhere, just not "Me".

Photo 4

See Photo 5, Gabby, the model and Vicki, my American producer, are walking to the set. My crew installed the grid and moved the light forward about 5 feet (about 1.5 meters) to be closer to the model. This was MUCH better but not quite there.

Photo 5

See photo 6 - After setting all of this up, the wall on the right was dark and the left wall was a little bit dark too, so I adjusted the grid to let light "Leak out" to those areas.

Photo 6

Note the edge of the softbox showing how close the box is to the model.

Fashion Photography, Steve Thornton

From the woman's balcony. If you look up, you can just make out part of the castle.
look in the top middle of the photo just above the trees. Not a bad view and
the sound of the water running was impressive.

Fashion Photography, Steve Thornton

Fashion Photography, Steve Thornton

For Photographers

The Gear:
Canon camera - 1/160 second, 100 ISO with a
Canon 16-35mm f2.8 lens set to f4 and 16mm.

The Lighting:
Lumedyne 200ws battery powered pack with a
Lumedyne head in a
FourSquare 30 x 30 "Travel" softbox using a
LightTools 40° grid all mounted onto a
Manfrotto umbrella adapter and using a
Manfrotto light stand to hold it in position and I used a
Wireless sync system.

Fashion Photography, Steve Thornton

We are based in Atlanta, Georgia, Los Angeles, California, USA & Milan, Italy, and serve the nation and travel worldwide for projects, both video and stills. On average we travel 175 days a year from all over the USA, to Singapore to Japan, Europe and the Middle East. We are normally in Europe 2 or 3 times a year, mostly Italy and Germany, shooting for clients there.

If you would like to use this image, or any of my images for mock or comp use, please just ask. There is never a charge for this service. Educational use is permitted without charge, unless published, but please ask first. All commercial use is available only with a limited copyright release prior to use from the copyright holder, Steve Thornton. Thanks for looking!

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