Photography Sessions with Model Jessica

I believe a good photography tip can come from just learning from the story behind the photos, in this case, my photo shoot with model Jessica at Lake Como.

Steve Thornton Photo

This is one of the photos with model Jessica at Lake Como. Canon camera at 160 ISO, 1/160 second shutter speed, Canon 85mm f1.8 lens set to f4.5.

Both of these two images were shot on Lake Como close to the Italian – Swiss border. The first image, where Jessica is sitting on the rock wall covered with ivy was shot near a small town named Carate Urio. The day was a solid overcast that later turned to rain. The make-up and hair stylist was Dwight Eubanks, from Atlanta and the wardrobe stylist is Mariachiara Ragazzoli (Mary) from Milan.

Steve Thornton Photo

I had Mary hold a Micro Mini SUNBOUNCE photography reflector, silver side, to bounce some light onto Jessica’s face.

While not all photographers have assistants on hand, if you can, try, as it can really make a difference in your photography.

Steve Thornton Photography

Here Dwight is finishing the hair and Mary is adjusting the wardrobe.

Assistants come in many forms, from make-up artists that do or don’t do hair, or hairstylist that do or don’t do make-up, but every assistant has their role and are often integral parts of any photography session, especially paid commercial shoots. Assistants not only can improve on your subject, but they can make the assignment a photographer must tackle easier to accomplish.

Steve Thornton Photography

Here, Mary makes necessary adjustments and fixes of the wardrobe for model Jessica.

We first met Jessica at Dwight’s hotel then drove from Milan to Como, then from there to Carate Urio followed by Argengno. Part of on location photography often involves travel which everyone must endure.

Steve Thornton Photography

Travel for on-location photography is always a team effort.

From the rock wall, we drove to Argengno and ate lunch and during lunch it started to sprinkle. So, while I paid for lunch, the crew started making changes.

Once there, I had Mary hold a Micro Mini SUNBOUNCE photography reflector, silver side to fill in Jessica’s face. Sorry there is not a BTS photo, but the rain started to come down in earnest. While shooting it then started to really rain. So, I moved everyone around the corner to a spot I thought would keep the model dry and shot a series of images there.

Steve Thornton Photography

Jessica is illuminated with a Micro Mini SUNBOUNCE photography reflector.

I had Mary hold a Micro Mini SUNBOUNCE photography reflector to illuminate Jessica. It was raining, though light, but we managed to capture some beautiful images. The advantage to the Micro Mini SUNBOUNCE reflector is twofold.

#1, It fits into a standard 32” suitcase, and is the only SUNBOUNCE photography reflector, at this time, that can do this.

#2, It allows a very small amount of light to be bounced and when you use the silver side, it’s very directional.

Note that as a fashion photographer, I use only the silver/white fabric. If I used the gold or the silver/gold zebra, the reflected light would change the color of the garment and would not make a fashion client happy. If you only shoot portraits or corporate work then a gold or zebra fabric would be OK to use.

We finished and got back into the car and started to drive back to Milan. On the way, still on Lake Como, I remembered when I moved to Italy in 1985 I had driven around the lake several times. I remembered some of the very narrow tunnels and I also remembered the last time I had driven from Como to Bellagio, I did not drive through any. So, I decided to find one I remembered close to Blevio. So, I was able to find it and just drove in. It was raining very hard and the rock walls were wet and the rocks above were dripping water but it was mostly dry. So, we got out and while Dwight & Mary prep Jessica I start to set up the lights I will use.

Steve Thornton Photography

Here you can see the hard light I have put on a Manfrotto background stand and is aimed to skim the rock wall to give shape and shadows in the background of the image.

I later added a spot grid onto this head to limit the hard light to just the rocks and not on Jessica.

You can also see that the FourSquare 30” x 30” softbox is turned to give some light for Dwight to change the makeup and hair. The Lumedyne heads have a halogen modeling light that is surprisingly bright. Also, Mary is working on shoes and finding the red panties I had brought.

Steve Thornton Photography

Here I am pre-lighting the set.

I did not want to drag the dress on the ground any more than I had to so I asked Jessica to stand where I was going to have her when shooting. This allowed me to get the lighting set before having her put on the dress.

Steve Thornton Photography

Jessica is now dressed and Mary works on the dress’ train in this photo.

In the following image, you can see how the softbox puts soft light on Jessica’s arm, face and legs and you can see the hard light gives the rocks shape.

Steve Thornton Photography

This is the final photo from this photography session with Jessica.

One of the world’s leading international image makers, Atlanta, Georgia native Steve Thornton began his career as a self-taught 12-yearold shutterbug with a keen interest in photography. As a professional, he has photographed numerous national and international ad campaigns, along with feature editorials for magazines in the United States and Europe. Steve & his crew travel on average 175+ days a year, in the USA, Europe, the Middle East as well as the Orient.

Prime client list for stills and/or motion: UPS, Invesco, American Express, General Motors, Hallmark, Citizens, Hyatt, Trane and Ferguson. 

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