HOME-MADE LIGHT AND INSTAX CAMERA FASHION SHOOT
The FujiFilm Instax beauty shoot happened because I was quite bored with digital and I wanted to explore the world of film more. I was also inspired by Steven Klein's photo shoot of Madonna. I loved how Steven gave an element of rawness to someone that rarely allows anything out of her control. It's important to give credit to your inspiration. Lets start doing that more as photographers.
Originally I inquired about the Polaroid camera. I found out they weren't making the film anymore (but at the time of publishing they are!). Next choice was the IMPOSSIBLE PROJECT camera and film. I love the Impossible Project Film but at $25 for 8 slides, it's not something I want to entertain for this job.
Someone said, "why don't you try the FujiFilm Instax camera?" - and when I did research that camera, I saw a simillarly beautiful image as the polaroid at a fraction of the cost. We had a couple choices, the vertical and the wide.
I like the look of wide, and that's really how I picked the FujiFilm Camera. It was about quality vs. cost, and it was the only logical choice. I'm happy that I did, because it's now one of my favorite devices. Compared to Impossible and Polaroid, the film is very affordable. It's about $.70 per image. IMPOSSIBLE cost about $3.00 per image and took drastically longer to develop. On a fashion shoot, we opt for speed.
AFTER THE CAMERA SELECTION, WE MUST DECIDE THE MAKEUP
My makeup artists, Cassie Lyons and I wanted to create something unique but how do we use the camera of the moment and give it a twist? We decided that since the image developed by the Instax Camera is traditionally muted and soft, we wanted to combat that with bold make up and styling. Cassie used definitive shapes (eyeshadow) that lacked the usual-blended makeup. I asked her to add metallics in there because I wanted that sparkle from lighting we created, and from the sunlight. We could afford bold makeup because the analog styled images would soften everything in the end.
AFTER MAKEUP, THE STYLIST GOES BOLD
For styling we asked Andrew Philip Nguyen to contribute with his wardrobe expertise. His directions: Bold, different, strong shapes. I also asked him to keep in mind we're photographing her in the hard sun, and a strong bulb that will help with reflections and shimmer. He delivered! If you're going to have big poses, vibrant makeup then you must use bold styling. Otherwise it won't work! You see samples of the outfits in the galleries below (Final Images + BTS Images).
NEXT WE HAVE LIGHTING DECISIONS TO MAKE
The question is, how do you light this shoot if you're going to embrace something unique? Do we use the on-camera flash? Maybe, but not as the key light. Hard flash against a white wall? Done. Something Like Madonna & Steven Klein? Done already!
Instead I thought, what if I mix the camera's own flash with a homemade lighting unit? Lets do that! You can see an infographic below on how I build that lamp, and so can you!
If you watch the youtube video, you'll see how easy it is using that lamp. I had my assistant Brandon holding the lamp in a variety of ways. Check out the Youtube video, and see how it was used.
WAS THE LAMP MY ONLY LIGHT SOURCE?
In addition the the DIY Lamp, I used the hard summer sun that hangs overhead far too long. The summer sun is technically the worst and hardest light. When it's overhead, the sun casts awful raccoon shadows and is unforgiving. When you see the images shot outside, you might notice that I often asked Tori (the model) to look up. This way we avoided raccoon eyes, and where we had her looking forward I asked Brandon to give her a great bounce with the reflector (gold side).
MY REVIEW OF THE FUJIFILM INSTAX WIDE 300 CAMERA
Honestly, I hadn't put much thought in the Fuji's line of instant cameras. The people that I saw using the Instax mini was your Coachella crowd, the trend chasers who bought them to only pose with them for an Instagram post.
When it came time to shop for a camera, I opted for the vintage Polaroid or IMPOSSIBLE camera. I visited a few camera stores and once I compared film prices, both were out of the question. $25 for 8 slides of IMPOSSIBLE camera film, and they don't dry for about 15 minutes? For a small photo shoot that's financially and logistically not a smart decision.
My assistant Brandon told me about the Instax Wide Camera. He said it's quite similar to the Polaroid, just shorter. I liked that look much better than the Instax mini. It's a personal decision but for a fashion shoot that's what I wanted.
When I reviewed the film price for the Instax Wide 300, it came down to about $.70 per slide. That's a huge difference than the IMPOSSIBLE camera film and I find that it fully dries in a couple of minutes, but I can put it in my pocket in about 30 seconds without any smudges. Okay, this type of budget and speed I can work with.
The camera's big size is sort of a novelty, it holds sturdy in your hand and if drop it the camera it could probably withstand a small beating (but if yours breaks, I'm not responsible). The flash of the camera, fairly strong. I do wish it had a brighter light source but it isn't a deal breaker either.
I've now used the same 4 batteries for about 8 or 9 cartridges of film. That's about 90 images, which is a tremendous amount for instant film.
For the price, I love this camera! I've now photographed a fashion spread with it and currently working on an art project with the same camera. Thinking about getting it? GET IT!
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