Behind the Scenes: The Kimono Photoshoot

Kimono Photoshoot, Behind the Scenes - Austin, Texas

Kimono Photoshoot, Behind the Scenes – Austin, Texas

Today is the second of a two-part behind the scenes look at the Kimono Photoshoot that I was on last weekend. It was a collaboration with Kirk Tuck, who was the primary photographer and the true portraiture expert. My role was to take the behind the scenes photos of the kimono fitting and photoshoot. Yesterday’s post includes the behind the scenes of the kimono fitting. You can see the actual portraits here, which I snapped in between Kirk’s studio session.

The fun part of a behind the scenes is to see the studio and the lighting equipment. Kirk has a really nice space, separate but steps away from his house. You can see the elaborate setup used to make professional portraits. The bigger the light and closer to the subject, the softer the lighting. The main light is a gigantic softbox camera left.

Kirk also set up a pair of reflectors to the right, which you can see in the first photo. Out of view is a second light high and to the right.

I delivered 42 behind the scenes images of the actual photoshoot to the client, of which I selected eleven for this post.

Kimono Photoshoot, Behind the Scenes - Austin, Texas
Kimono Photoshoot, Behind the Scenes - Austin, Texas

You can get a better idea of the lighting setup in these two photos. The reflectors and lighting were adjusted during the session, depending on subject placement and the effect being sought.

Kimono Photoshoot, Behind the Scenes - Austin, Texas
Kimono Photoshoot, Behind the Scenes - Austin, Texas

During the photo session, I primarily used the Fujifilm 18-55mm f2.8-4 zoom. It allowed me the flexibility to shoot wider and longer than my 23mm f2 and 35mm f1.4 primes that I used during the kimono fitting. However, for these two photos, I temporarily changed back to the 35mm f1.4 prime to get the shallow depth of field effect I was looking for.

All of the photos in this mini-series are JPEGs that I shot with the Fujifilm X-T10. I also shot in RAW. However, since the skin tones look so pleasant, I opted for lightly tweaked JPEGs instead. That’s one of the things I like about the Fuji colors, they look great for people.

Kimono Photoshoot, Behind the Scenes - Austin, Texas
Kimono Photoshoot, Behind the Scenes - Austin, Texas
Kimono Photoshoot, Behind the Scenes - Austin, Texas

I’m not very adept at directing people, which is certainly a fundamental skill in portraiture. Kirk, of course, excels at this. He gently guided both Anna and Ayako, which you can see in these photos. Kirk also has a way of making people feel relaxed, allowing him to create natural, unforced portraits.

Kimono Photoshoot, Behind the Scenes - Austin, Texas

I love this photo of the mom and the kimono fitter hovering over Anna. This was certainly a group effort, using the skills of multiple people to get it all right.

Kimono Photoshoot, Behind the Scenes - Austin, Texas

By the middle of the session, Anna was an old pro. Her natural smile was on display. I caught one as she smiled at her mom.

Kimono Photoshoot, Behind the Scenes - Austin, Texas

Finally, a quick image review that Kirk shared at the end with Anna. You tell the Panasonic S1R, and the zoom lens is a hefty combination.

I hope you enjoyed this three-post mini-series on this unique kimono photoshoot. It’s something different from my usual street or travel photography. However, the techniques I used to make these behind the scenes photos are similar to what I normally use. I shoot in available light, from different angles, and try to capture optimal expressions. I just applied these in a different context.

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6 thoughts on “Behind the Scenes: The Kimono Photoshoot

  1. Very well done. Going back to the first of three posts, then scrolling through all the photos with a brief pause on each, the series flows like a nicely edited video. All it would need is a few bits of natural sound activity, comments from each person on what they were doing and why, and a few moments in which Kirk is seen and heard giving direction. Maybe someday…

    1. Thank you, Mike. That’s an interesting suggestion. Sort of like the narrated photo essay slide shows that used to be more popular before the extensive use of video.

  2. Thank you for these behind-the-scene photos. I believe I came to know this site because of Kirk Tuck’s writings, so it’s good to see the two of your working together.

    Was Studio Dog involved at all?

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