Off camera flash


Industrial Mechanics

Two of my uncles have worked in automobile factories and three of my cousins have studied industrial mechanics for a few years. Although my vocation was far from there, I have always liked tools and machines. Automatic industrial systematization based on electricity, electronics, hydraulics and pneumatics have produced fascinating machines that remind me of Fritz Lang’s futuristic film Metropolis, a masterpiece that may have influenced Chaplin’s Modern Times.

Isarrualde off camera flash

lighting scheme I

model Belén Cuello / Valentino Bookings

The idea of doing a fashion class in the Industrial Mechanics workshop of the Don Bosco School in Montevideo came up because some time ago I had done another class in that school and I really liked the atmosphere of other times that the building has. As I said before, something reminded me of Metropolis so the first poses were a nod to the character of the robot that usurps the figure of Maria, the heroine of the film.


Maria at the Robot Hall of Fame

The clothes perhaps helped me to form that idea and we opted for a very marked make-up, something similar to how make-up was done in the times of the movie, with very outlined eye contours.


María in Metropolis

Ambient light was low when working at 200 ISO so I had to use an f4 aperture and a very slow shutter speed. I could have raised the ISO but the model was very professional and knew not to move during each shot. The focus was very critical as I don’t usually work at an aperture wider than f 5.6 for fashion subjects, but in this location I didn’t want the depth of field to be too large.

Bowens softlite

Beauty Dish

A Bowens Beauty Dish as the main light produced an intense gradient where the light fades as it reaches the hands. As the environment was quite dark and the contrast was high, I placed a Lastolite circular diffuser to increase the main illumination surface and thus decrease a little the overall contrast on the model’s body. The two effect lights I placed in semi oblique backlighting had Wafer 60 windows and were at a value + 1 EV above the main Beauty Dish light. In this way the outlining in the hair, arms and dark clothing highlighted and separated the model from the background.

Wafer softbox Wafer light box

As I explained in another post, Wafer light boxes are of very high quality because of their large diffusion, relative to other windows.

Isarrualde Photography off camera flash

Lighting scheme II

The second shot was more complicated as the jacket was black velvet with very shiny lapels. Fashion photography, beyond its intentions of visual impact, must show the clothes and be understood as they are. The opacity of the velvet and the sheen of the satin contrasted the garment and I had to change the lighting scheme.

In this shot I wanted the environment to be more visible, and at the same time I wanted to highlight the shine of the garment. I used a front window to “mirror” the satin sheens and achieve a softer, less contrasting face. On the other hand, I directed one of the flashes towards the white ceiling to bounce the light on a wide surface and highlight the environment a little more. A third flash from the right illuminated one of the milling machines.

Isarrualde Photography off camera flash

Lighting scheme III

The third garment was also difficult. As you can see the collection was all about shiny black and here the pleats of the blouse had to be highlighted. On the other hand the skirt was short and the legs very long and pretty. The light in this case was crossed to highlight the garment and give volume to the legs. I used two Bowens Wafer softboxes as the main light and the front Beauty Dish with the Lastolite diffuser only acted as a fill light, or secondary light, to lessen the contrast in the shadows.

Lastolite diffuser

Lastolite Diffuser with holder LL LA1104

The blackboard that happened to be illustrated with class drawings was a good element to close the perspective and do something different from the previous two shots. In this case I placed it in front of the camera to avoid glare on the camera. The shot was more open than the previous ones, so I was encouraged to shoot at f 2.8 with a focal length of 46 mm.

In this shot, footwear and leg styling were very important and the model posed beautifully. Her footwear was appropriate, I liked it a lot, but I couldn’t forget the initial sci-fi inspiration from Metropolis and remembered the cone-shaped heels Nicholas Ghesquière designed for Balenciaga in the Spring 2009 collection. They would have looked great in this very mechanical and industrial environment.

Balenciaga Constellation Cone Heels

Balenciaga Constellation Cone Heels

Isarrualde Photography off camera flash workshop in Montevideo, at the Talleres Don Bosco

lighting scheme I

Isarrualde Photography off camera flash workshop en Montevideo
Lighting scheme II
Isarrualde Photography off camera flash workshop in Montevideo at the industrial mechanics workshops of the Don Bosco School.
Lighting scheme III

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