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Dixie Cup Plant Yoga / Fitness Themed Photoshoot

Working with likeminded artists is inspiring. Bouncing ideas back and forth, working through challenges, and ultimately growing in the process provides a fruitful environment for those involved. I was fortunate enough to put that into practice with photographer Brian Wcislo this summer on a shoot at the currently empty Dixie Cup Plant in Easton, PA. Thanks to a team effort on finding the location, models, and bringing on a talented team for hair and make up, we were able to secure a plan for the shoot.

Yin & Yang

Photographer & Following Write Up: Brian Wcislo

As much fun as we have shooting on location, each new situation poses unique challenges. Here at the historic Dixie factory we had all types of eye candy to play with, but had no electricity - which means no air conditioning on a hot summer day, and no power for our lights. Fortunately, we knew what we were getting into before we started shooting, so we brought plenty of cold water and Jt brought his new lighting system - complete with power pack.

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Make Up Artist Tori working with model Jen

We were so excited to play with this excellent piece of equipment. However, when we got on set there were some technical difficulties as we were shooting Canon & Nikon systems and the extra Pocket Wizard wouldn’t fire the strobe from my Nikon. We could have done a work around using an on camera flash and slave. However, since we were on a tight timeline and didn’t want to slow things down I decided to just shoot natural light - which is one of my favorite ways to shoot anyway.

Yoga Shots

I decided to use a large open room that had massive windows on its 3 perimeter walls. I liked the vastness of this location. As a bonus, its windows provided a massive soft boxes surrounding the subject. Since the focus was on the models and not the location, I chose to shoot a very shallow f2.5 - f3.5 for most of my images. I was going for balance and symmetry here so I lined up my shots using the structural columns as a guide and framed each model as centered as possible.

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Fitness Shots

With a stark contrast between the subject and backlight I chose to underexpose by a stop or two so I didn’t lose all detail in the windows and compensated by bumping up the shadows in post. This set up provided a soft, even scene which I slightly manipulated in post using curves to add a little contrast to Jen’s images to show off her muscle tone, and removing a little contrast from Cheyenne’s yoga images making them even softer and more dreamlike.

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Lessons: Come as prepared as possible and always test new equipment before you get on location!

Brian’s Gear:

  • Nikon D810
  • Nikkor 50mm 1.8
  • Manfrotto 755CX3 2-stage Tripod

Peace Despite The Chaos

Photographer & Following Write Up: Jt Taylor

I had the opportunity to scout the location beforehand, which allowed us the chance to concept and plan accordingly. Understanding the location had no power was important to know in the planning process. Hair and make up was done offsite to avoid the power issue, then we caravanned our way over to the shoot.

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Hair Stylist Adam Raymond working with model Cheyenne

Things went mostly to plan. I had picked up a Profoto B1 battery powered strobe not long before the shoot and was excited to fully test it out on location. However, the trigger I had was only compatible with my Canon system, while Brian shoots Nikon. While that was disappointing for our plan to share gear, the cool outcome here is our final images are very different despite the same models and location.

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My goals for the shoot was to create simple, contrast driven shots that showcased the great space while not distracting from the talented model. I chose to use an ND filter to get color and texture out of the windows while still working with a shallow depth of field. Using one 47” octobox attached to the Profoto B1, I worked with the model to create a handful of cohesive shots that fit the “Peace Despite The Chaos” concept.

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Jt’s Gear

  • Canon 5D Mark III
  • Canon 50mm 1.2
  • Lee ND Filters
  • Profoto B1
  • Paul C Buff 47” Octobox

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