Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Faerie House Shoot

This wasn't a paid gig, but it does represent the first shoot I've done in a long time with actual clients. John & Carolyn Kopchick own and operate Lake Superior Log Works, located near Grand Marais, Minnesota. They're in the beginning stages of setting up a website to sell these beautiful cottonwood bark houses that John makes and needed photos of a selection of the pieces to be exhibited on the site. The carvings will be referred to as Faerie houses and the site will be designed with a Celtic flavor. I did some basic pictures of some of John's work a couple years ago and have always offered to help out with additional images when needed.

The main goal of the shoot was to get some good shots of a dozen of the houses for the site as well as at least one shot of a selection of houses shown together. Once we got the website shots done, John also wanted shots of additional houses to keep as a record and for future reference.

Although we spent an entire day, it was a fairly simple shoot. I used three of my portable flashes for each single shot of the houses. One flash as the main through a small softbox, located just to camera right and two snooted flashes from behind providing some rim light to separate the houses from the dark background. It was just a matter of getting the lights where I wanted them and then settling on the best exposure settings. Once that was all set, after each shot we would replace one house with another, I would make any adjustments I needed to the camera or lights, make the exposure and then we would move to the next house.

The group shot took the most time. There was quite a bit of tinkering with which houses to use and their position in the shot. I gradually built the picture bit by bit, making test exposures as I went and letting John and Carolyn check the progress in the camera. Once I had the houses in their final position, I added a second flash from the front in a small umbrella to fill in some of the many dark areas of the set up, positioned a third flash from behind to provide some rim lighting and made the final exposures.

Post work in photoshop was pretty basic with some general retouching, color and contrast adjustment and sharpening. Nothing fancy. I felt pretty good about the results, but it was about two hours after I had dropped off a disc with the finished images that I got a call from Carolyn to let me know how happy they were with the images. Hearing things like "they look fantastic, super detail, wonderful color and you did good," was a nice wrap up to the day we spent.
For more information about these beautiful works of art and additional home furnishings and log furniture, contact John and Carolyn at:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice shots. These were used in the Summer 2009 issue of Faerie Magazine who did an article on the Kopchiks. The photography did a fantastic job of setting their houses apart from other bark house carvings. Of course - their carving and art work did that too. Well done!