One of the things my mentor, Tracy Hicks, taught me in his workshops was that almost anything can make a backdrop: it’s all in the way you use it. So, when a private student showed up with a bunch of camouflage gear for the model, including a camo netting that he wanted to implement as a background, we had to figure out what worked.
I had never worked with the stuff before and wasn’t sure of it’s reflective properties, how to take advantage of the see-through nature of it, etc. The shot above was one of many different outfits we tried on the model.
The hat and t-shirt were part of the branding for a drilling company my student worked for and he wanted to include them into the shoot for possible use in a company calendar. The model, Briana Barela, styled the t-shirt with cuts using some scissors. The sunglasses were her own. The only things I wasn’t totally happy with was the blue fingernail polish she was sporting those days. I figured that if I really wanted to that it could be ‘fixed’ in Photoshop.
We proceeded to rig a black cloth backdrop, and then clamp the camo netting in front of it. I wasn’t sure if we’d need to separate the netting from the cloth, or could leave it resting against it. As it turned out, just resting against it was enough.
In the original tests we lit the model, but left the backdrop unlit. It turned out that there just wasn’t enough light to make it interesting. We wanted things to ‘Pop!’ I put an Alien Bee 400 on a backdrop stand and inserted a green gel into the gel holder. It took a bit of of adjusting to get the right distance and intensity with the backdrop light, but it wasn’t long before we were getting shots like that above.
Although the shot looked pretty good straight out of the camera (SOOC), a vignette effect was added in Lightroom to help frame the model. A 36″ Octabox, two 36″ strip boxes (gridded), and a 22″ beauty dish were used on the other lights.