DET:Next Black Tie Ball
Fashion editorial shoot executed at Ponyride for Clubhaus Detroit
This past May I had to opportunity to shoot some editorial content for CLUBHAUS DETROIT, a Detroit based professional network that seeks to connect Detroit's talent. The idea behind the shoot was to use Ponyride (where the DET:Next Black Tie Ball will take place) as a canvas for a high fashion editorial shoot. I had six models on hand the day of the shoot, all dressed in a variety of "black tie" attire. My job was to tie together our location with high fashion, not the hardest job when you have a location that looks like Ponyride.
I tried to keep this shoot fairly simple in terms of lighting, since every subject required a new location. Outdoor shots were lit by balancing ambient light from an overcast sky, with a large shoot through scrim and a flash. This lighting set up allowed me to give my shots some dimension, while maintaining the feel of the ambient lighting. Indoor shots were lit by an 80" beauty dish, on a 600w studio strobe, with some help from a large fill card and flash. This set up gave me extremely dynamic shots that I felt they would balance well with the vibrant outdoor shots. The nature of this shoot required me to figure out my lighting on the spot, which is pretty rare in my work, but this allowed me to get creative with crafting the exact lighting I wanted, without the usual studio fare. The thing I love about editorial shoots is the particular freedom you get, briefs tend to be sweet and to the point, but always allow for creative control.
Retaining creative control on an editorial project, especially if retouching is done in-house, can help push projects above and beyond what a client might expect. As creatives we have the ability to concept and strategize solutions for whatever comes our way, and when we maintain creative control over a project, we have the ability to give it a soul. When I create a piece, I look at as a frame from a story. I want my viewers to be drawn into my work, I want them to connect with my subjects, and I want them to be part of the story. To do this I rely heavily on contrast, light shaping, and ambient flares. Contrast is the first thing we notice, it's just in our nature to resolve shapes and features, which is why I focus heavily on making my subjects pop. Once our mind understands what we're looking at, it tries to establish a mood, which is where light plays a critical factor. Shaping light to help our minds perceive particular moods is a pretty well understood principle of art, but is often overlooked in its importance. Once my work reaches a point where it can genuinely speak for its self, I always try to add a final layer of ambiance, something that plays off contrast and light in order to create that certain "magic" feeling.
Having focused on editorial work as of late, I found myself relying on my commercial experience to push my work to another level. I attempted not to overdo retouching on my subjects, and focused heavily on shaping the story in each image. I feel as this series did a great job at capturing the charm of Ponyride, while allowing my subjects' characters to shine. I am extremely excited for the DET:Next Black Tie Ball, and to meet Detroit's up and coming faces.