Before and After


As a professional photographer, techniques and digital processes change rapidly.  Sometimes its difficult to keep up with all the changes from lighting to post processing of images.  One thing that doesn't seem to change that often is the people.  People are fundamentally the same, in that they want to look their best and they want there product to be shown off in its best light.

For example I photographed this model, Melissa Tingley back when she was about 12 years old.  She grew up and got into modeling and I photographed her many times.  After appearing in magazines such as Playboy and numerous calendars, I photographed her for an advertisement for San Francisco Cigar Company. 

S F Cigar Ad Cigar Girl.jpg

This shot was taken in the studio with one large 4-foot soft box on the subject and one small defused light on the background.  Pretty simple lighting.  The idea is to keep the main light as close to the subject as possible to yield a broad, soft flattering light. The closer the better for creating a softer light.

Fast forward to last month where I photographed Melissa yet again. Like the last time the advertisement  was for the San Francisco Cigar Company.  They have a new store in Martinez California and wanted to use some images for promotion.  The owner, tracked down Melissa and we were reunited as photographer and model once again.

This time was a little different as we were shooting on location inside the store.



Luckily, it was before the store was open so we didn't have to work around customers but the store offered some challenging lighting puzzles to figure out.  First, the store was primarily dark.  Dark, rich woods for the floors and fixtures and dark leather for the sitting areas.  The lighting on the walls was any photographer's favorite, spot lighting on light colored walls. Once we understood the color balance for the background, using my new best friend the color meter, we were able to alter what the camera saw in terms of color balance and we could alter the lights with gelatin filters to balance everything. 

The lighting I used was Profoto B1 portable strobes that I think are fantastic.  They are easy to dial in the exact amount of light you need and the light modifier choices are almost endless. For this shot I used one head mounted in a large 5-foot Octigon soft box for that large soft light that makes skin look great.  I also used another B1 in a 4-foot strip light soft box to create a little separation between Melissa and the rest of the store.  Lastly I used a B1 head with no reflector or soft box (bare head) to kick some light into the rest of the store. 


In the final shot, we used the same lights as before but because of the Profoto versatility we could turn the lights way down and shoot at a wide aperture to create a shallow depth of field.  This would bring less attention to the items on the bar, (Cigar, dice and wine glass) and background and more focus to the model.

I am looking forward to photographing Melissa again but hopefully sooner than 12 years. 

Copyright 2015, Terry VanderHeiden