I usually don’t get the opportunity to share a behind the scenes look at my sessions, but a few weeks ago Michael Shandro from Shandro photo joined me on a shoot and captured some shots for me of the behind the scenes.  I am excited to give you the first ever peek of what I do behind the camera :)   I met Jenna and Marc at Tempe Town lake a couple weeks ago on a cloudy day, so the clouds were just perfect backdrops for their shots.  I knew I wanted to take advantage of the patterns and lighting the cloud cover was creating so I looked for a hill which I could shoot up on them and have nothing but clouds behind them.  There was a perfect location, only problem was the sun was also directly behind them, which meant I would get a blown out sky with no detail if I tried expose the couple correctly.  And here is where the fabulous Mr. Shandro comes in.  He set up my off camera lighting kit for me and we were off.  My kit is heavy, so I don’t always bring it.  I use a Vagabond II to power the set up, and an Alien bee 800 with a giant shoot through umbrella.  I also use soft boxes when in studio, but I don’t like how they eat up the light and when shooting outdoors I need even and strong light, which is why the giant shoot through umbrella works so well for me.

I set Jenna and Marc up on the top of the hill with the light to them around a 45 degree angle, it is hard to see that the light is actually a bit in front of them here in the shoot, but it is. I then took a low position to avoid shooting the buildings in the background.. this is what the set up looked like.

After some adjusting of the couples position closer o me, to avoid cutting their feet off and helping them with some posing, this is what we came up with, this is pretty much straight out of the camera with a slight curves adjustment to add a little more contrast.  We used custom white balance on location to avoid having to adjust white balance in post production.

Taken with a D700 24-70mm @55mm  ISO 200, 1/250 to sync with the lights, and F8.0.  The lights were set around 1/2 power for this shot.

justineo - Maxim.. Yes the vagabond acts as a sandbag.. its heavy.. so I prop it up on the stand to avoid tipping :-)
Maxim Photo Studio - Justine, great shot. The mark of advanced pro is to balance the ambient light with Flash/Strobe. You did a great job of "popping" the background while keeping the subjects well lit. I would love to be able to leave my softboxes/umbrellas unattended on shoots like you did, but I would be losing a lot of money from falling equipment. ;) Thanks for the post.
christine - Beautiful! I am a photographer [new to the valley] and am interested would love to chat with you sometime! LOVE your work. :)
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Lica - I have a question, why do you have a transmitter on your D700? Aren't the lights continuous? Thanks!
Jennifer DeCesari – Rhode Island Wedding photographer - Great job - love the final image!
Michelle Barnes - Justine you rock! I love your work. thank you for the behind the scenes view.
Mandy Leonards - Wow Justine thanks so much for sharing this with us!! :)
Justine - Thanks Michael.. There were some interesting ones in there ;) I am so glad you got to meet up with us and had fun working with you!
Michael Shandro - It looks great Justine. What a creative way to use the pictures that I took of you during the shoot!
Mark Andrew - Thanks for sharing! Nothing beats canning small Nikon/Canon flashes for true power of an Alienbee
Melissa Rodriguez - Very cool Justine! You always have such amazing shots - even SOOC! You rock and are SO helpful!!
Tawney - Amazing Justine! You are so talented. Thanks for the behind the scene look.