Several months ago I was hired to shoot what I thought was going to be a pretty typical engagement session in New York. Time passed and as the date came closer I got in touch with the couple to firm up the details. They told me they had some ideas about the shoot and then said they wanted it to have a 1950's theme. They wanted to shoot outside a diner, they were having a '56 T-bird there for the shoot, they were dressing up in 50's attire... in fact, it wasn't going to be typical at all.

One of the things they told me is that they wanted to shoot with the car outside the diner and have the sunset behind them. Well if you know anything about photography you know that in order for that to happen you're going to have to use lighting. I guess I could have done some HDR stuff but its not 2006 anymore. :)

So I rented a Profoto set up and drove out to New Jersey to the diner. The diner was awesome but it was also surrounded by cars, not from the 50's, which to me kind of kills the whole thing. So we positioned the car in the middle of the parking lot and I shot from pretty much the only angle that blocked out the rest of the cars and still showed the diner. I felt pretty good about the images as we were shooting but I never get too excited because you really never know what you're getting until you open them up. I even turned the strobes off at a couple of points and shot natural light just in case things weren't turning out as good as I thought they were.

When I opened the images up to begin working on them I just fell in love. Its so different from what I normally do but man they're so freaking cool.

While I typically work with natural light, when I was first getting started I never wanted to be in a situation where I felt unprepared so I learned as much as I could about off camera lighting. I'm by no means an expert but knowing this stuff has helped me get good images out of bad situations.

So here are a few of my favorites. I put in some of the natural light stuff as well. I think the difference is really interesting. Let me know what you think.


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Comments
[July 9, 2010] Jen Johnson said:
Super fun shoot! Love the off-camera stuff...gives the images an editorial feel! : )
[July 9, 2010] Mel McLellan said:
Well if it's one of your favorites ever, we had to check it out! :) Love the black and whites and the last one - supa sweet!
[July 9, 2010] matt said:
these are ridic. so clean & well thought out.
[July 9, 2010] Natalie Williams said:
LOVE!! Way to work the lighting!
[July 9, 2010] Amy Russell said:
I know it's not your normal gig, but these are some of my favorite images that you've ever delivered! Really, really cool stuff-- they not only look editorial, they look like stills from a film. I say you keep playing with the off-camera lights. Seriously!
[July 9, 2010] Tracy said:
Love the inside the car shots.
[July 9, 2010] Julie Boucher said:
Love them!
[July 9, 2010] Jennifer | Zinchuk Studios said:
Wow! What an amazing session!! Love the contrast between the lit and natural shots....and the night shots are sooo yummy!!
[July 9, 2010] Trent said:
Man. Can't believe how incredible these turned out.
[July 10, 2010] Adi Ulici said:
Wow, the lightning is gorgeous in these photos!
[July 10, 2010] Malinder said:
Amazing shoot! Love the lit pictures
[July 12, 2010] sarah k chen said:
hot stuff! you really rocked the shoot! and i'm so happy to see you blogging again! we've all missed you!
[July 12, 2010] Stephanie Castillo said:
WOW!!!! LOOOOVE THIS SHOOT!!!! AMAZING!!!!
[July 12, 2010] Stephanie Castillo said:
P.s. did you use ocf for some of these? If so, can I ask what you used? Thanks :)
[July 13, 2010] Kimberly Witort said:
Love them!
[July 13, 2010] evie said:
Awesome job, Michael! LOVE that car;)
[July 14, 2010] Kristin said:
Wow. These are amazing! Would you mind sharing exactly what lighting you used for these? It's so incredible!
[July 15, 2010] Lissette Q said:
WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
[July 19, 2010] Daniel Balboa said:
Love those last few images. Hot hot hot!!
[July 22, 2010] Grace Tan said:
I love the stuff done with the off camera flash! It just looks so good and matches the theme. Saturated colours add to the feel as well.
[July 22, 2010] Grant Perry said:
I am SOOOO diggin' your honesty and that you were totally REAL in your explanation; way to go. Wish more photogs were honest with how and what they were thinking / doing with their stuff. Refreshing. I'm even more diggin' your spot on 100% rock-the-session sharpness and composures of this shoot. Way to go brotha'
[July 23, 2010] Austin Curtis said:
yeaaaaaah dog! I like that went out on a limb. These images are straight classic! It's not 2006 anymore... that is hilarious.
[July 23, 2010] mattaltmix said:
dude, the soft light coming in through the windshield, like they're at a drive-in theatre, money.
[July 23, 2010] Louisa Coulthurst said:
These are just brilliant! I loved all of them!
[July 24, 2010] Marge Cavazos said:
Stunning, simply stunning.
[July 28, 2010] Nellie Guerrero said:
Very spiffy and I love it :) Love the red lips and pumps!
[August 6, 2010] Kim O'Neil said:
These are sweet! For someone who doesn't shoot with OCF much, you sure nailed it! Would love to know the specs on your settings...
[August 22, 2010] carrie said:
dig it! v. cool :)
[August 27, 2010] Deanna Whyte said:
Oh my god! I love these! They are really different from your usual {gorgeous} photographs, and I love the natural light shots in there, but you've done SUCH an amazing job! Seriously HOT. They must have loved them!
[September 16, 2010] Sara said:
These are simply amazing! My faves are the ones you used lighting for. The sky looks incredible, and the in-car shots are just breath taking! I wish I knew a thing about lighting so I could get shots like yours!!
[September 25, 2010] Nikki said:
wow these pics are amazing!!!! you were the photog at my friend Onada's wedding I am sure the pics will come out just as nice! Wonderful job!!!!
[December 28, 2010] Albuquerque Wedding Photographer said:
Wow! Great session. I love the composition, colors and that car! Wonderful job.
[May 16, 2011] full lace wig said:
full lace wig and lace front wig are good
[February 13, 2012] Nicole said:
coolest engagement shoot ever!!!
[January 16, 2017] Mark said:
you have a terrific blog here! would you like to make some invite posts on my weblog?
[January 17, 2017] John said:
You have brought up a very good details , thankyou for the post.