ericamottin
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AdirahsEyes Feb 01
Such a very special shot. Love all the work that went into this shot.. amazing talent~and skills~and creative mind.. Congrats on Staff Favorite.. That says a lot!!!! adira

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Jan, 2018
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Navratri Durga



Indian inspired photoset with amazing design by Elaine's Couture
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Won Staff FavoriteJanuary, 2018

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Behind The Lens

Location
This photo was taken at my home studio in a small town nearby Florence, Italy. I'm a self taugth photographer and I love to be able to control light to create something magical and not ordinary.
Time
It was a set planned to be shot in a forest nearby my house, in autumn during the golden hour but it had been raining for days so we had to settle a back up plan: we recreated the forest in the studio stealing fallen leaves and branches and red bushes. It took almost 2 hours to set up everything, in the meantime the mua did her amazing job and we ended up shooting this around dinner time.
Lighting
Me and the designer, Elaine's Couture, wanted to keep the feeling of an autumn set even if it was in studio so I decided to use a flash with red jelly for the background and two side softboxes as fill and rim light for the headdress. Another softbox was placed near the model's face a little bit on the side (I don't really like when the light is totally in front of the subject, I find it flat) to enhance the shadows on her face.
Equipment
My equipment is really a basic one: I shot with a Nikon d7000 and a 65mm 2.8, 4 Quantuum Move400 flash lights with barndoors and cones and 2x2 feet softboxes for the main and rim light.
Inspiration
Me and the designer took inspiration from the Indian festivity Navratri which is a hindu festival that takes place in autumn. This festival is hosted in honor of the goddess Durga who battles and defeat a buffalo demon. We imagined her dressed in soft colors and Indian jewels but we gave her golden claws to remind everyone that she is indeed a warrior goddess.
Editing
Yes, even if the original shot is not so different from the final one, I don't like to change too much as I tend to have a very good shot on camera. I used a preset of color correction actions created by the so very talented photographer Bella Kotak and retoucher Pratik Naik called Fine Art Actions which helped me enhance the golden and warm colors of the image. I did also a dodge and burn retouch on her skin.
In my camera bag
I tend to shot only in studio so I never forget my flashes and softboxes. I love my 65mm lens which is always with me even the few times I shot on location. I know it's not the recommended lens for portraits (it's very good for macro indeed) but I love the look it gave to my shoots. This is basically all I need, as well as a background holder which used to be a cloth hanger made by iron pipes by my superhandy boyfriend.
Feedback
Try different angles when positioning the flash. Learn how shadows and lights fall on your model's face and how they change it. Try different exposure until you find the perfect aperture. Try until you are completely satisfied, I know you can fake it in pp but a good shot on camera will save you from hours of retouching! Find a good team and interact with them, if they know what you want it will be easier for anyone. Create a moodboard together and always talk with them during the shooting. Communication is the key to everything! Remember that you are creating something together so everyone has to be satisfied at the end but the vision is yours and yours only, so if you have to say no sometimes just say it! And never forget to take things less seriously, a good laugh during the set helps create the magic.

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