Photoshoot with CrazyBaby

Photoshoot with CrazyBaby
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Hello everybody !

Last Friday I took pictures of Crazy Baby, a young Japanese model from Osaka. Seeing her profile on Instagram I imagined her in the streets of Akihabara with a crazy style. I actually really like taking photos in the city by night because everything is quieter, with few passersby and the light is so beautiful.

In this article, I would like to show you how to simply make beautiful photos with only your camera completed with lights of the city. My first advice is to stay focused, prepared and have natural poses. Because without preparation it will be difficult to stay focused and your stress can be felt by your model.

Here are the keys I use for this photoshoot, and two Lightroom presets I used, one in color and one in black and white. From now, I’ll give you Lightroom preset on every articles, hoping they'll be useful to you. Let’s start !

Presets Lr :

Imagine a short story

On the way to the scene of the photoshoot, I imagined a short story, about a girl walking int the streets of Akihabara: to achieve this simple story, I needed different frames, poses, locations, lights and textures. This time I didn’t make it, but you can keep a notebook with you to write the story and draw sketches that will help you suit a guideline.

For this story, I thought to start in a dark place with a background lighten, go to the heart of the neighborhood, walk there, meander through the small streets with little lights and finish quietly in a place near the start of the photoshoot.

Obviously it’s possible to go further in a story, however here I wanted something very simple and play between lights and poses.

Spot the locations

I repeat it regularly but it’s clearly essential walk on the location before taking pictures with a model. An hour before her arrival, I took the time to walk in the neighborhood, observe how the light reacted on the ground and passengers.

Then by imagining my model in different poses my story started to look nice. There are times when we are out of inspiration, not knowing if that place is really good, I advise you to walk slowly, take the time to look at the ambiances that are available to you.


The most important thing is to make an itinerary and see where are the lights that will highlight your model. Once your route is in place, do not hesitate once the model with you, to go in other streets that you have not visited or only seen from afar.

Turn around the model

Crazy Baby arrived, we walked a little, and to the right of Akihabara’s station I saw an alley lit by a neon light. An interesting thing to do, is to turn around the model, because we do not always realize what is happening behind us, in this way it’s possible to have two quite different photos in the same places.

Small parenthesis on the settings, I stayed all the way to 1 / 60th shutter speed, aperture f1.4 and I manage the brightness with ISO. When you take pictures in the evening, it’s better to take pictures in RAW in order to get as much informations as possible on the pictures during retouching.


For the next three photos we were at the edge of the road, the goal is to have the face lit enough to have a nice contrast between my model and the bottom, it should be the case on all the photos, but here it was the most enlightened place of the session so you should make it well! Always make sure that the shadows on the face match with the environment, avoid the shadows under and on the eyes, favor the face upwards.

When your model is moving and you shoot at low speed, do not hesitate to make several photos while keeping your camera stable in your hands. If you are doing well, you will be entitled to pretty blur movements in the feet or hands.


The mirrors of the city

During my tracking I saw a lot of reflective surfaces, there are several types: Transparencies where your model can be placed behind and thus have the reflections of the lights around your space; there are also opaque surfaces, much darker but they offer textures and colors that are out of the ordinary.

The difficult part of mirrors is to find the right frame, often you will have reflections on the face, look if it is clearly visible. Ask your model to take several poses until you have something that you like and test several angles.

Lights like in the studio

While walking down a small street, I saw a light both soft and directional, like a soft box with honeycomb grid, Crazy Baby was placed in front of a grid and her whole body was enlightened. Then turning around her, I noticed that the light was fine on her face and so I could have some kind of Low Key.

If you are not very comfortable with the poses, focus on the light and ask the model to do natural poses, in this way you will be sure to have good results. By saying too many things to your model, she will be lost you may miss a nice framing. The best is to give it a starting theme and only direct your face with your hand.


Not having cold feet

Sometimes we see the perfect places for our photos, but it’s a little dangerous for the model, at the risk that she falls and gets hurt. It is quite possible to propose the model to try to go on this place by paying attention. For example here with this guardrail, Crazy Baby is not so tall and has time to find a support, finally she managed to get on and do poses.

When your model is lying, make sure the legs are highlighted. For that, place yourself on the side of the legs to lengthen them, it’s the same when the model is standing, put you to the ground to have beautiful legs.


Through grids

Going a little further, we saw stairs surrounded by grids, which is great for playing on the composition and graphics of a photo.
Here the goal is to have the eyes and / or the mouth visible to recognize your model, on the first and third photo is clearly the case. A little less on the second, but as the picture is horizontal, with a black and white it gives a pretty strong picture.

The choice between color and black and white is the feeling, for example for 1 and 3 the makeup and pants give a touch of red that highlights the contrasts compared to the green and blue shades of the background and the wire rack.
Looking at the 2, I couldn’t find anything special, however by turning it in black and white something has revealed and it is much better like that.
I advise you to have Lightroom presets side to quickly see if a picture is worth in black and white.


Ghosts on your photos

I talked about it on the article with Pepe, but it’s possible to play with the movement of people who pass in front of your model, for that you need to have a background lit and a frontal light.
Put the speed of your device on 1 / 4th, ask your model not to move then wait for someone to go ahead to take the photo. By doing this, a special photo will be added to your story, it can be placed before the end of the series to boost the rest of the photos.

Finish smoothly

Throughout the session I didn’t ask Crazy Baby to do too much movement, because I was likely to have a lot of blurry photos, however if you want movement on night scenes, choose a very bright place or you can raise the speed of the camera, or use a flash.

The problem with getting too much ISO is to have a lot of noise on the photos, if your style and control of photography allow it you can gofer it, when we look at the photos of Daido Moriyama (even if it’s the street photo), he doesn’t hesitate to go out of the limits of his camera, once in black and white the noise is not really a big deal. In any case, this is what I could remember observing his work.

Thank you for reading this article, I wish you make beautiful pictures! and don’t hesitate to ask me questions in the comments or leave your opinion about this session. I try to teach you through these articles simple techniques on the photos applicable in several situations.

See you soon !

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