In my previous entry I shared the first part of this shoot at the Utah Salt Flats. And continuing on, the sun was going down quickly and we were losing our light. As Suzette Allen and her husband prepped the Bubble Trailer and lighting for their next series of photographs, my model Pamela did a change of clothes while I set up a multiple-light look for a clean, commercial, studio look that would work with and accentuate the deep blue of twilight as things got darker.
These turned out to be a fun and wonderful series of images. I love the motion between the images and feel they’re best shared in sets of three to show action.
For these next couple of horizontal portraits, I let one of my lights show in the image. I loved the lighting angle, and I wanted to show the open vastness around us. Pulling back with the camera allows that long, empty, and open horizon to show. And the light I think it adds interest, telling the viewer that the lighting is controlled and specific.
I often see photographs posted from the Salt Flats by other photographers and the results are dull, muddy faces, washed out backgrounds, noisy grainy images, blurry faces, and shadows in the wrong places on the face. Why? Because most photographers don’t understand exactly how to custom light, where a light should be, and how lighting needs to continually move and be adjusted based on sculpting someone as they move. It requires knowledge and lots of mental work. But the results of doing so are powerful images like these – amazing portraits created in a normally impossible setting – long after the sun has gone down.
Pamela was so much fun. She had a lot of personality and I loved her choices in clothing. These photos with her hat made for a great set of images. I’ve had a hard time picking my top favorites.
Time was really flying and we were having a blast and didn’t want to stop shooting. So after Suzette had finished her shoot with the trailer (which can be seen here on her blog), it was completely dark. While her and the Chopstick Guys were packing up their gear and loading their vehicles, Pamela and I decided to shoot a bit longer. She had this awesome flowy outfit, and the evening desert wind was really howling.
So with a couple studio flashes on stands manually controlled, I used the wind to our favor and did one last series of images. I really like the dark blackness that surrounds us in these images. With blackness behind and the light illuminating the white salt floor, falling off, fading into the distance, it makes it feel like we’re shooting on a stage. And Pamela’s movements and expressions really make these images sing.
What an amazing shoot, and this is just Part 2. There’s Part 3 coming because the next morning we did a very early sunrise shoot with another beautiful friend of mine who came out to model for us.
Those portraits have a completely different look and feel because the sun was direct and coming in from a different angle, plus the color temperature was different too. As the sun rose, the color around us went from deep blue, to pink, to a warm golden color. The entire location glowed with the sunlight. Those images are incredible and I’m excited to share those soon.
Also, if you’re a photographer looking to up your game and get more training, check out my online and in-person courses right here on my site.