Picture of the Month – September 2009
Because this month’s picture was created, rather than just photographed, I thought it would be fun to show you how it came together. I’ve done several pirate photoshoots both in the studio and on location, but this time I wanted to create something more theatrical.
The pirate was played by Michelle, who I met last year photographing her for her senior portrait. I shot Michelle against a blue backdrop that I new would be close to the shade of blue I’d want for the night sky. This made it easier to drop out the background and not leave a tell-tale fringe. The hardest part of lighting Michelle was getting the right balance of backlighting so that it would look like the moonlight was shining through her blouse. The color temperature for this shot was cooled way down to give it a blueish cast so it would look like a night shot.
A few days later I photographed the pirate ship against the same blue background. The pirate ship is a model that Andy Doerner built for Lori and I in 1999. It was lit in the studio to make it appear as the light was coming from the moon. I used one snooted strobe up on a boom to approximate the moonlight.
The sky and ocean came from a shot I took on a vacation in Mexico. Different treatments were done to both the sky and the water to get it to look like night. It seemed a waste to use such a colorful sunset, but I liked the highlights on the water and the clouds in the sky.
The moon was added from a public domain image shot by NASA. For the finishing touch, the stars in the sky were added on a separate layer in Photoshop.