The Conclusion to the Iron Factory Shoot. ( It felt more like a gnat bothering a horse.)


So the Iron Factory Studio shoot is done and “in the can” as they say. Now I will let the images sit and age for a while. No seriously I have so much going on at this time I really have no time to edit. Besides the other half of the project is still to happen. I will leave for my trip to Southeast Asia on November 16 and return in December just before Christmas. So the final edits for those images will not come until late January.

Iron Factory report: The day starts as we arrive in Philly and the GPS wants to take me up Fontain Street the wrong way… oh boy! So as I arrive Aryn Wilson (makeup artist) is already in city and waiting. Kendall Strampel is arriving just minutes after me. Looks like we got us a photo shoot! I meet with Kat from the studio and she lets me in, shows me around and “we’re golden” good to go. Oh did I say it is on the third floor and no elevator… Yeah boy, I have a whole Durango full of studio gear to be moved up and set up and I have one hour to do it. I brought one huge muscle man named “Tiny” and we did it. Studio is up and running as scheduled. I love when a plan comes together… cheap lines from 80s TV shows always make blog post more interesting.

So Aryn has Kendall ready pretty close to schedule and we’re test shooting, take a short break and get right to it. I had the normal gremlins that can always be expected when shooting tethered to an old laptop and using Lightroom 3. So I dumped that plan and went to camera WiFi out straight to my tablet for review. Most of the shoot was using the awesome Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 USM II, keeping somewhere at or close to the sweet spot for that lens, about f/7.1 to f/8 ISO 50 and shutter going between 1/80 sec to 1/160 sec. Mostly 1/125 second. The Paul C Buff White Lightning’s were working hard all day at about ¾ power. Lots of “creative” light.

At one point a guest whom I had invited stopped by, we had never met and she wanted to see what it was and how it is that I do. Seren was a perfect guest, she accepted my invite and she visited and departed after she seen and learned a little about what I was doing. Always refreshing to meet new people on the fly and make a true connection, thank you Seren.

My Thai wife had made lots of Thai food & fresh fruit for the crew and models and Kendall’s parents. I think we had all bases covered for comfort as best as we could. Now the call comes in that Cynthia Ann has arrived and she will need to be escorted to the studio. There was a rowdy bar just around the corner and the game was on so… well it’s only the right thing to do; we take no chances when it comes to the safety and wellbeing of the ladies. So I headed out to the street, located her and we walked & talked. Both models were at their best and it made for a great shoot. The theme for the day could have been “contrast” as working with two young ladies who are so different. Kendall who is so peaceful and soft spoken in her angelic light southern draw, her voice is light and she is just so cool to be around. Cynthia Ann on the other hand is very talkative and humor cranked to 110%, she exudes positive energy to everybody in the room. I love her so much because she talks as much as I do… maybe more and she is 100% real to the core. What you see is what you get. Creepy thing is… when I go to give Cynthia a command or direction she does it as I’m thinking of it. This is not a joke; she truly knows what I’m thinking. I noticed this the first time I shot with her while doing a test shoot. Think about that for a second… you are working with somebody who can do what you say before you say it and they don’t even realize they’re doing it. I still am very puzzled by it, but I’ll take it any day.

So soon Kendall had transitioned from fashion to fitness looks and she was done for the day and headed back to the Lehigh Valley. Now I’m left with Cynthia Ann, who while on break finds joy in punching me as hard as she can in the arm & shoulder because I told her she can’t do “fitness” shoots because she has no muscle. Did it hurt you may ask? Let’s see… 105 lbs hitting 270 lbs… it better not hurt lol. It felt more like a gnat bothering a horse. Yes we have fun. Soon Cynthia’s session was ending and I escorted her to her car, while my assistant escorted Aryn to her car. All ladies safely on their way home so now it’s time to tear it all down and head home ourselves. I was tired and hungry; I had one coffee, one bagel, two cans of diet soda and three bottles of water all day. I stopped for nothing. While models were changing or on break, I would be changing out softboxes, fixing lighting or reviewing images. Fun for me though.

So in conclusion did I get what I came for? Yes! Yes I did. It was a well-planned shoot and in taking Frank Doorhof’s advice from his latest book “Mastering the Model Shoot (Everything the Photographer Needs).” Frank says “Always schedule three models and at least one will show.” Well… Reese called the night before and said she would not be able to attend. There are no hard feeling and I told Reese “there is always another day” and I understand. After all Mr. Doorhof told me this in his book and I believed it and followed his advice from the start. I actually owe a lot of the success of this particular shoot to the advice and information found in Frank’s book. Thank you Mr. Doorhof for a well-executed plan to follow. I would recommend this book to anybody wanting to run a shoot smoothly for the first time. Make it easy on yourself, follow a master.