Immersed in Autumn w/ Mimi Kong

My friend Mimi and I have been trying to shoot for a little over a year now, and our schedules had finally aligned on my last trip to Sacramento. My initial idea with Mimi was to create something that really felt like you were immersed in the season of autumn. So the main photo I wanted to accomplish was to have a big yellow sunset behind her, and use fall-colored leaves to create some drama as she bounced on a trampoline. 

Image #1

mimi 1 for web.jpg

Choosing the right leaves for this project:

 To make sure we had enough reliable leaves, and to make the shoot as efficient as possible, I purchased a bundle of autumn leaves on Amazon. This was a bundle of 300...looks small here. 

To make sure we had enough reliable leaves, and to make the shoot as efficient as possible, I purchased a bundle of autumn leaves on Amazon. This was a bundle of 300...looks small here. 

 And here's the bundle of 300, after separating every single leaf.

And here's the bundle of 300, after separating every single leaf.


Planning, troubleshooting, and executing:

On this occasion, we only had a few hours of an evening to make something happen, and the sun was already setting by around 4pm.

Also, the backyard that we were shooting in was surrounded by trees, so this was already getting a little challenging. As the sun went down quick, I started to realize I would have to pull off a little photoshop magic to re-create the sunset in post. So, we hung a simple white sheet around the cage of the trampoline, and placed my lights in a way that would allow me to easily construct this image in post, combined with a few other photographs.

 After

After

 Before

Before


As far as gear goes, here's a list of all the equipment used:

Nikon D810

Sigma 24mm 1.8

Interfit S1 Strobe

60" parabolic reflective diffused umbrella as main light

Bare bulb Alien Bee B400 as fake sun in background, gelled with a full stop of CTO

Processed through Capture One Pro, composited in Adobe Photoshop


Here's a video breakdown of all the layers involved to accomplish this photograph:


Image #2

This was my very first idea I had when Mimi and I first wanted to shoot. I wanted to continue the theme of being immersed in autumn, but make this one have leaves falling around her, but still have it be a little more realistic.

To make things cohesive, we wanted to keep the same lighting setup, but with the opposite positioning to create a different scene.

 After

After

 Before

Before

Shooting the leaves

Since each of these photographs were already a little complex to capture the right pose, expression, and detail, we wanted to photograph the leaves separately. In photo #1, we left a pile of leaves under her so when she bounced, some would bounce with her and look more natural. For the rest of the photos, we just tossed up leaves without moving the camera. I then cut out the leaves in photoshop later to make the final images a little more dramatic.


The amazing thing about photography is that you can make some interesting images out of nothing. All it takes is an idea, a solid plan, a little bit of technique, and a few helpful friends/team to make cool things happen. (yes you can make some cool things alone, but it’s much more fun to create things with a group)

I hope you enjoy this image as much as I do, and as we did to make it!

 

-B