Fashion Week Portraits, Mantis Salon

Bianca, Mantis Salon, Austin Fashion Week 2012

Bianca, Mantis Salon, Austin Fashion Week 2012

In the last post, I talked about how I decided impromptu to go out to a Austin Fashion Week event on Sunday. The first stop was “The Salon at the Domain” which I blogged about here. After the action tailed off I made the trek to mid-town Austin to Mantis Salon, a converted house near the Rosedale neighborhood. The salon/house was a bit warm but they had friendly people, a nice vodka bar sponsored by Little Black Dress Vodka and 4 models, all with black outfits. I settled in quickly especially since my camera gear and I were all warmed up from the previous event. Any rustiness I had with my recently reactivated Canon 7D was all gone by the time I hit this second location.

Gabby, Mantis Salon, Austin Fashion Week 2012

Gabby, Mantis Salon, Austin Fashion Week 2012

The lighting at Mantis was completely different from the Salon at the Domain. It was night-time now and there was no longer any ambient light coming from outside. The warm interior lights were not adequate for a good exposure indoors, especially at iSO 400. While I used the external flash at both locations, they were used in different ways. At the Domain Salon, with its big windows and natural light, the flash was used to fill in a bit of the darker spots on the models. A bit of fill light to make the color and exposure pop. I usually shoot these in Aperture Priority mode. At the second, darker venue, the flash was the main source of light. I still wanted to blend the warm, ambient interior lights but the flash did more work. I change my setting to Manual exposure and used a bounce flash off the ceiling. A couple of adjustments with the aperture, shutter speed and flash exposure compensation and I was good to go.

Tamica, Mantis Salon, Austin Fashion Week 2012

Tamica, Mantis Salon, Austin Fashion Week 2012

Virtually all my photographs are taken with Aperture priority, the A or Av mode on most cameras. I like to determine the depth of field via the aperture and have the camera automatically set the shutter speed. Often times, I tend to shoot with the largest available aperture too unless the lighting or scene dictates a smaller one. When I shoot landscapes on tripod, for example, I usually opt for a smaller aperture. I use the M mode, manual exposure, when I shoot in darker conditions with a flash, however. This was the case at this salon. In manual, I get to set both the aperture and the shutter speed. Usually the exposure will be on the darker side but I use the light from the flash to illuminate the subject. I can also use the flash exposure compensation to increase or decrease the light output from the flash. I used the Canon 50mm f1.4 and kept the aperture on the large side to capture a lot of ambient light. I set a fast 1/200 to 1/250 second shutter speed so that I would have a nice steady image.

Dominique, Mantis Salon, Austin Fashion Week 2012

Dominique, Mantis Salon, Austin Fashion Week 2012

Interestingly, the salon had two very petite models, Bianca and Gabby and two very tall models, Tamica and Dominique. For the short models, I shot them standing since their hight and mine were more evenly matched. For the tall models, I got them to sit down on the salon chairs so that I could get a better angle. I had a great time. A relaxed, unpretentious Austin kind of place. A couple of people asked for some shots and I was more than happy to oblige. I had a nice talk with the models had a nice vodka drink and enjoyed shooting beautiful people. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday night. With my Canon 7D dialed in and having fun with my new old camera, I decided that I would go to a few more Fashion Week events this week.

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