Deep in the Dungeons

Earlier this summer I had the amazing opportunity to do a creative portraiture session in a dungeon. A what? Yes, a dungeon. Personally, I am a very open-minded person and I expect that people who are interested in my work and working with me are also open-minded and want to see the range of my work. Professionally, it was a unique setting to be creative with the models and lighting. It was also my first taste of producing a shoot in another city. I had to do a bit of research and planning with insurance, logistics, and renting equipment. Challenging and so much fun!

My crew and I shot our two beautiful models in three differently themed rooms: a small, dim jail cell; a larger, naturally lit medieval room; and a dark, sultry, purple lounge. We had about 40 minutes in each room and needed to photograph each model in a number of poses. I shot using ambient light, a speedlite and three LED lights that could be set at different colors. I also rented a monolight and softbox but didn't use them. Better to be over- than under-prepared!

Surprisingly, the funnest and most successful shots were in the darkest and smallest room. (There was barely enough room for me, my photo assistants, the models and the equipment.) Well, maybe not surprising considering that I did the most pre-visualization for that room's shots because it was so dimly lit.

In contrast, the larger room with gorgeous natural lighting was not as successful for me. There were too many options, not enough pre-visualization, and the possibility of having to vacate quickly if the room was needed by the business. I did, however, play with a fog machine and fan that we brought with us for those photos and that was a good learning experiment.

The last room was better as I was clearer on the shots I wanted to get in there.

I focused on tighter shots of the models' feet and faces. Here are shots of me in action in the last room.

Yay for uncovering window lighting! Gave a nice soft side light for the shot.

Yay for uncovering window lighting! Gave a nice soft side light for the shot.

Photographers can get access to some pretty interesting places. This location definitely tops my experiences as an emerging photographer. Let's hope I get to work in even more fantastical places!