Patrick Shipstad - Sam Aotaki

Winter Chill: A Haute & Cool Lensbaby Tutorial

I’m proud to say this is actually my fifth lighting tutorial for Faded + Blurred. As I started writing it, I realized the last two tutorials, The Perfection of Imperfection and Lensbaby, I love Your Way, also happened to be based around using the Lensbaby selective focus lenses. I recently acquired the Composer Pro with the Sweet 35 and the Edge 80 lenses and thought I’d put them through the test. Lensbaby was also kind enough to do a Pro-Spotlight on me for their blog and I really wanted to give them a few more shots to showcase.

I found a spiral twig wreath at a craft store and thought it would look great for a shoot. For some reason, when I do Lensbaby shots, I apparently like to put twigs and leaves in the model’s hair! I had an idea to do a snowy, cool toned shot and thought the natural element of the twigs would be a perfect accessory for that.

Fake Snow

I found a wonderful exotic model, Sam Aotaki, who had colored her hair a bright red. I thought the red would contrast nicely to the cool tones I had planned on using, and she also had some tattoos that would lend some exotic accents to the shots. I added some fake snow (also from the craft store) to her twig headpiece, hair and shoulders. That would add some real life elements to mix in with the snowy particals I added in post. For that, I used a picture of snow-like looking white dots on a dark grey background. I set its layer mode to overlay, tweaked the opacity and I had my effect.


As I most always do, I did some test shots with my trusty mannequin head to nail my lighting and to have something to show Sam when I contacted her so she understood the mood I was going for.

I shot this with a Canon MKIII tethered to an iPad 3 using the Camranger wireless unit. It worked perfectly and was a great help in letting me check sharpness in the eyes while using these lenses that require manual focusing.

striplight_keylight 5DMKIII_LB

For the blue toned shot I used the Lensbaby Edge 80 at F5.6, 125 shutter and ISO 100 for a vertical plane of focus, blurring the sides of the shot. The key light, placed just right of the camera was a strip light with a fabric grid to keep the light on the model’s face and body, but preventing light spill back onto the backdrop. It was positioned a little higher than the model and pointed down a bit. A piece of white foam core was just out of frame at the bottom to catch any slight spill from the key light and fill in a little light from below. In camera raw, I slid the color temperature to the left to give me the cool blue toning.


The tea stained canvas backdrop was lit from the ground with a 20° grid spot, metered at F5.6 and centered to give a natural halo in back of the model (All lights were a White Lightening 1600x).

back_view backdrop_grid

The other horizontal shot, was done with the Lensbaby Sweet 35 lens set to 5.6, 125 shutter, ISO 100 for the circular lens blur. I switched out the key light’s vertical strip box for a horizontal medium soft box with a fabric grid and then used the strip box (still with the grid) as a rear, left shoulder and hair light. It counters the key light soft box just right of camera. The white foam core was again, just below the camera frame, bouncing a little light from below. For the color toning, I used one of the cross process effects in NIK Color Efex Pro 4.

Patrick Shipstad - Sam Aotaki
[via Patrick Shipstad]

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