Transformers - more than meets the eye!


No longer a newbie, moving up!
Feb 6, 2015
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Every year, I try to get creative when photographing my son in his Halloween costume. This year he dressed up as Optimus Prime, so I wanted to create something inspired by the packaging that the original toy came in, similar to this and this. Everything was done in-camera, with the exception of the stars which were added in post. I shot this from near-ground level for more of a "hero" angle (plus it made it easier to hide the floor without using an extra 8' of seamless paper). Any feedback is welcome!

Lighting setup (see pull-back shot for full setup)
  • Key: I used a 12"x56” gridded stripbox camera left for almost-split lighting. I ended up moving it a little more forward to make sure the front of the subject was illuminated, as well as create a tall vertical catchlight in the eyes.
  • Fill: I used a tall rectangular piece of white styrofoam as a reflector, with the shape intended to match that of the key light. This was moved in relatively close to provide enough fill to preserve some shadow detail, but still somewhere around a 4:1 key/fill ratio.
  • Background: The background is lit with 2 gelled strobes in reflectors with barn doors to control spill. On the left/bottom is the red gelled light, and on the right/top is the blue gelled light. The backdrop is an 86" wide roll of seamless paper in fashion gray.
  • Stars: These were added in post using a modified version of the tutorial I found here.
  • Miscellaneous: I also wrapped an apple crate in black seamless paper for the subject to stand on, which helped isolate the subject and hid the pattered area rug underneath.

The final shot
Nikon Z6II with 85mm f/1.8 lens
85mm, f/8, 1/200s

20211031-DSC_4546a-stars2 by adamhiram, on Flickr

Original shot without stars
Nikon Z6II with 85mm f/1.8 lens
85mm, f/8, 1/200s

20211031-DSC_4546a by adamhiram, on Flickr

Fun shallow DoF shot with matching toy
Nikon Z6II with 85mm f/1.8 lens
85mm, f/1.8, 1/200s

20211031-DSC_4584a by adamhiram, on Flickr

Pullback shot

20211031-DSC_4595a by adamhiram, on Flickr
An excellent set! Very sharp and well lit. I like the stars, too. :encouragement:
You really nailed this Adam!!!! I could go either way on the stars.
Great work! I like the stars.

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