June 10, 2013

Lagoon Bath for Dolphin Organics

By In 35mm, Flash, Posed, Wide Angle

Editor’s Note: This photo has been a long time coming. Our friends at Dolphin Organics sent us a bunch of gifts and we shot this for them as a huge thank you. I came up with the concept months ago but we had to wait for the weather to warm up to be able to shoot it.


You’re almost a year old. You’re walking. You’re saying a few words. Your personality is coming through big time and I love it. We’re having so much fun together.

Here’s your two new favorite things: playing in the water fountains at the park and “driving” your car (we push you all around the neighborhood and house and you can’t get enough of it).\


{ The Picture }

How do you shoot a lagoon in the middle of the Atlanta suburbs? Well, you don’t. You find a stream full of water (and nasty looking brown sand) and you fake it.

The budget for this picture was precisely $30. And we blew that on the silver tub.

I knew what I wanted in my head, but making it was a different story. With no budget, no¬†assistants, and no more than 20 minutes before the model walks crawls off set, you’ve just gotta do your best and expect to have to do a lot of retouching and creative editing. That’s exactly what I did (you can see the before image below).

It didn’t help that the battery pack for my 2nd strobe was dead on arrival and the shampoo doesn’t suds up because it doesn’t have a bunch of chemicals in it. That’s the life of a photographer though.

The initial set up was going to be the Einstein 640 as the key in a 60″ umbrella and an AB800 with a beauty dish as rim. Without power for the AB800, I had to switch to an LP160 and shoot it through my 40″ umbrella. No biggie.

I only wanted a slight blur on the background, so I shot at f3.5 with my Sigma 35mm f1.4. I knew I was shooting with a lot of wiggle room in post as I’d be spending a lot of time on the image, so all I cared about was soft even coverage on the front side and a nice rim on the backside that could conceivably have come from the light shooting through the trees (that I created after the fact).

Look, send me all expenses paid to a lagoon with a team of assistants and I’ll get you a great image straight out of camera. Send me to a back-woods stream in Atlanta with only the gear I can carry and this is what you get…

Dolphin Organics-5534

I’ve spent at least as much time and effort learning how to retouch and edit than I’ve spent learning how to use a camera. It comes in handy. And it’s fun. I love making and looking at images that are obviously at least 50% art (not photography). Some of the most famous “photographers” are not really photographers at all, they’re artists who use a camera to capture the beginnings of a concept, and that’s it.

In terms of what CAN be done on a computer, I’d say the final image for this concept is 70% photography and 30% art or maybe 80/20. As Noelle gets older, I really want to push that toward 50/50 or even 30/70 on occasion. It’s fun. I dig it.

Comments are welcome.

  1. Madeline June 10, 2013

    These are so beautiful! I really love the setting, nice job.

    • Kevin June 10, 2013


  2. wileyblog June 11, 2013

    This is excellent. Really nice job on the bubbles.


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