Oahu Yoga Photographer - On Assignment

A few months back Nicole reached out to me to do a yoga styled shoot. I was stoked to collab with her because this was a new request for me. 

Idea: We wanted to create a mystical, surreal type of image. To achieve this, I felt like shooting somewhere with a jungle or forest feel would fit. I also used a strobe since they can help create a dramatic feel to your overall image. 

Location: We shot this image at Kapiolani Park in Honolulu, Hawaii. This park is huge with many different spots to shoot at. I choose to setup near the banyan trees because I liked the textures and lines within them.  It was also in the shade which helps with your overall exposure and lighting control.  

Lighting: I used the Alien Bees b800 shot through a 46" Photek Softlighter as my main light. I always use C-stands and sandbags for safety.  Hawaii can get gnarly trade winds and I've had lights fall on my subjects. C-stands are pretty expensive so if you are more budget conscious, at least purchase multiple sandbags for strobe sessions.  I did not use a fill light for this image. Since we shot during the daytime, I was able to add fill by slowing my shutter speed.  I placed the light just out of frame to camera right. It is slightly placed above her head and tilted downward about 45 degrees. 

Lens: I used the Canon 50mm 1.2 L lens for this shot. This lens is awesome but if you don't plan on using it wide open on a regular basis, stick with the Canon 50mm 1.8. I shoot weddings multiple times a week and I am often in situations where I need the additional stop. 

Editing: Nicole actual outfit was a black top with red pants. I didn't like how the two colors looked with the particular background. To fix this I used a hue/saturation adjustment layer in Photoshop and changed her pants from red to green and her top from black to green.  Since the adjustment layer affects the entire image, I masked it out with a brush. 

I basically do a few things to all my images. I desaturate the entire image, add specific colors I want using curves, then add blue in the shadows and yellows in the highlights with a levels layer. I also desaturate the reds in people's faces and skin to mellow the tones in the overall image. 

Thanks to my buddy Joseph Baeza who came out and filmed this BTS video.  Hopefully the video gives you visuals of the overall setup. Feel free to ask any questions in the comment section of this post.

Nicole Zuelke