Southwest Fashion with Sarah Sommers and the Panasonic GX7
While visiting home I was able to run off to the mountains of Ruidoso, New Mexico with my brother (Noel) and sister (Sarah) to practice a bit of fashion photography. My sister is an aspiring model and this gave us both an opportunity to add to our portfolios. We got to Ruidoso around 11am (after I got us lost by wanting to take "the scenic route" = dirt road to nowhere), and spent around 30 minutes scouting for locations. After I decided which looks were going to be shot where and waited for my sister to do her makeup we shot until 6pm, with breaks for snacks and wardrobe/makeup/location changes every few hours. It was a long but very fun day.
I used my Panasonic GX7 whose hot shoe randomly gave out last month
so rather than trying to rely on my speedlight's slave mode I decided to shoot using a 5 in 1 reflector as my main "light source". I only recently purchased this and it was my first experience using one of them. Throughout the shoot I used the reflectors' shiny silver side which I think mimicked a bare flash pretty well. Since this is the look often sought after in high fashion I was pleased with the results. However, there are a few caveats I encountered:
- The sun needs to be out.
- Works best if you have an assistant - Noel was a great sport and ended up calling himself "the lighting guy" throughout the day haha.
- Sun needs to be behind or to the side of your subject.
- Works best if when you place the subject in the shade and then illuminate them.
- When using the shiny silver side, the reflector is hot and blinding - Sarah was a champ, but there were times when she needed a break.
- It can be difficult to control in the wind.
I used Olympus' trusted 45mm portrait lens for most of the shoot but also used an OM Zuiko 35mm f/2.8 coupled to a generic focal reducer (translates into a 50mm f/2 lens). It was very sunny out and I was extremely thankful for the Panasonic GX7's ability to shoot up to the 1/8000 shutter speed. This allowed me to shoot wide open for most of the photos. Below are my favorites from the shoot. It was a pleasure working with Sarah and seeing what a beautiful woman she is growing up to be. Having my brother there was also a blast because he knew exactly what to say to get her to laugh. Of course the bonding time was priceless and I can't wait to do it again. Hope you enjoy our efforts, Sam.