I’ve been wanting to photograph a dramatic black gown in Paris for some time now. The beautiful scenery of the City loans itself nicely to the difficulties usually inherent in phtographing a black garment: too dark and detail is lost; too light and it may look faded or worn or not truly black. Not all black-hued fabrics are made the same; they all reflect and absorb light differently making it difficult to capture detail. My advice? Have some type of portable light source when you photograph black or dark clothing.
Producing a Shoot in a foreign country

Planning a shoot in under a week in an unfamiliar City is a challenge because there are a great number of uncontrollable things that can go wrong. But I don’t worry about those; instead, I stay focused on the tasks before me. My initial idea hinged on being able to photograph a model I had worked with in the past. We already had a great Connection, so it would be one less thing to worry about. The gown would be designed by Susan Agostinho, with whom I have worked for more than a decade. I told her my idea; she loved it and began creating the huge gown and accessories.
Next task: finding hair and Makeup artists. Funny how life works by chance – I was introduced to both of These individuals through industry referrals. So far, my production was running perfectly.
I did some Location scouting, but didn’t have authorization for all venues. I wanted to shoot in Paris’ most iconic Locations.
A Public Square
Our first location of the day was one of the major public squares in Paris. Parts of it were busy, but other Areas were quite empty until we arrived and set up. Sightseers and tourists began to fill the area, and sometimes people just walked directly into the Frame! Don’t ever loose your cool if this happens – stay positive and set the example and mood for the rest of the Crew and also for the day.
For my key light I used an Octabox 75. It’s perfect for the homogeneous Illumination it provides and the rounded eye-lights, but ist light is a good deal harder than the larger sister Octabox 150. I used the other MobiLED head connected to the Move without any light modifiers, only utilizing the bare bulb.

“The Move is definitely for the serious photographer: it’s built to last and has the power to make a difference on set.”

The Carousel Part I (image above)
I knew I would have to capture the carousel in motion because of children and tourists: I did not want the extra visual clutter and I think the movement makes for a more interesting Image. With the Move 1200 L and one strobe handheld on a light stand with the Octabox 75 without the front diffusion fabric.
Both the model and myself were moving on the carousel as it moved. I shot at f/22 at 1/2 sec. This enabled me to freeze the model and capture all the movement, which made the Image so much more interesting.

The Carousel Part II
My second night shot still utilizing the carousel is one of my favorite images. The best way to make the model pop and disregard any distracting People is to put the focus on her, making sure she fills the frame, and slowing the shutter Speed so anyone on the carousel would be blurred with the motion. I used the Octabox 75 again at about six feet tall to my right and above me. I then used the other mobile head with a bare bulb for extra fill on the ground and to bring out the detail of the black dress. The broncolor Move has the perfect amount of power to help catch all the detail in the gown.
“I was really impressed by the quality of light and the beautiful color tone that it offered.”

Some Making Ofs

And the lighting setups

The Carousel
A Public Square