On the weekend I got to together with some friends and pulled off one of the most fun days behind the camera I have had in awhile.
Two months of preparation have gone into this shoot and endless emails and messages between myself, my first assistant director Chris Shultz, my make up artist, and my two models.
We decided to shoot in my carport at home which looked just the right size for what we had in mind, turns out it was perfect. We cladded the day before the open carport with black builder’s plastic and then dropped a black paper background as our main backdrop. We had plastic over the walls and also over the ground, for ease of cleanup at the end of the night.
It took me about 4 to 5 weeks to find the colours and blend them into plain flour, and we ended up with 20 kilos of yellow, green, red and blue powder. The kitchen has been a mess for weeks and I know for a fact that Katy didn’t really appreciate it. The poor woman had the living room taken over on the weekend by makeup artists, models and allsorts of visitors coming to experience what turned out to be a brilliant shoot. And BBQ lunch was nice too Katy…
There was a trail of coloured powder from my carport all the way through the house into our bathrooms, where our models have had showers and I won’t tell you what my equipment looks like right now. But it is all for that end result, isn’t it?
Anyhow, back to the shoot. I shot basically from the same spot all day and rotated the models in front of the black background. My two assistants threw colours at them and I can tell you very few times the pose and the flour-hit synchronised with the camera and the lights. It’s a matter of fact that probably 10 out of 200 images are usable. I still think that is a great result, considering that we didn’t know if we were going to get any at at all.
Lighting wasn’t over complicated, although we had all sorts of units at our disposal, we chose to use a 400 Watts Bowens through a strip softbox and a naked bulb 200 W light as a back light. The whole plan was to increase the light around the subjects/flour and keep the back in darkness to make the colours stand out.
I knew that I didn’t need to much colour through the powder since I was always going to be able to enhance it in Photoshop, but what I didn’t know was how easy it is to do. I had sat through a Photoshop tutorial in a previous club, where we learnt to turn on saturation tool and select a colour, so only the preselected tone is adjusted. It took me literally one minute to get the results I have shown here.
Back to the mess….Once the fun was over, the cleanup started and as I mentioned before, there are still traces of flour around the place. Thanks to Chris’ leaf blower we got it done before teatime.
I think the most important part above all has been the planning, culminating in these images and a fun day for all.
Plan well, shoot better and you can’t go wrong.
Special thanks to Chris, Katy and my girls for their help and support throughout all of this.
The original idea was from a video that Jen Williams posted on the Club facebook page.
Post script: Holi Festival
Holi is an ancient Hindu religious festival which has become popular with non-Hindus in many parts of South Asia, as well as people of other communities outside Asia.
It is primarily observed in India, Nepal, and other regions of the world with significant populations of Hindus or people of Indian origin and Nepalese diaspora. In recent years the festival has spread to parts of Europe and North America as a spring celebration of love, frolic, and colours.
Holi celebrations start on the night before Holi with a Holika bonfire where people gather, do religious rituals in front of the bonfire, and pray that their internal evil should be destroyed as the bonfire starts. The next morning is celebrated as Rangwali Holi – a free-for-all carnival of colours, where participants play, chase and colour each other with dry powder and coloured water, with some carrying water guns and coloured water-filled balloons for their water fight. Anyone and everyone is fair game, friend or stranger, rich or poor, man or woman, children and elders. The frolic and fight with colours occurs in the open streets, open parks, outside temples and buildings. Groups carry drums and other musical instruments, go from place to place, sing and dance. People visit family, friends and foes to throw coloured powders on each other, laugh and gossip, then share Holi delicacies, food and drinks. Some drinks are intoxicating. In the evening, after sobering up, people dress up and visit friends and family.
Holi is celebrated at the approach of the vernal equinox, on the Phalguna Purnima (Full Moon). The festival date, which is determined by the Hindu calendar, varies from year to year on the Gregorian calendar, typically coming in March, sometimes in February. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter, and for many a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships, and is also celebrated as a thanksgiving for a good harvest.