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First photoshoot in Montréal

How to shoot on an overcast day!

Disclaimer: some of the images in this article were modified since there first publication!

“InMotion” has been on for a year and a half now. My aim for this project was to meet new artists and it was not easy. I mainly shoot in Paris and Strasbourg but the project sent me to Stuttgart, New York, San Francisco, and now Montreal can be added to the list. It was my 4th trip to Montreal but the first time shooting there.

When I went to New York, I traveled light and worked mainly with natural light. This time, in Montreal, I wanted to work with artificial light. I've been working with a single flash on location for a year now and developed a look I love for this series. Fortunately, the Broncolor team were kind enough to send me from their headquarter in Toronto, a "Move kit" with a Para 88. This was just enough for what I wanted to do during my stay.

Our meeting was planned at the old port with professional dancer Vanesa Garcia. During our first week, the weather was random. Changing from bright sunny days to pouring rain in a few hours. That morning, we were lucky enough to only have an overcast day. While this would have bugged me a few years ago, I was confident because I had a "Move kit" with me that would still allow me to shape interesting visuals for my shoot. Just to give you an idea of how things unfolded, here is a little behind the scenes video :

You may have noticed how dull and clouded our morning was at the beginning of the video. The sun slowly showed up but it came out a bit too late for my taste. We worked really fast that day, which led us to a lot of improvisation. Vanessa had so many ideas, this shoot could have lasted forever! The lack of an interesting light that day wasn't a problem. I was able to give interesting shadows to my picture with the Broncolor 1200 L and the Para 88. Placing my light between A 90 and 45 degrees angle to give depth and by adding contrast on my subject helped me get away with the ambient flat light. To emphasize the shapes and moves of Vanesa, and to give a dramatic look to my picture, I worked with a high more than the comfortable depth of field. The under-exposed background helped me boost my foreground and make Vanesa Stand out.

Here are some details on 2 selected pictures :

Canon 5D Mark III 24 - 70mm L mark II at 55mm ISO 100 - F9 - 1/200

Canon 5D mark III 24 - 70mm L mark II at 24mm ISO 100 - F13 - 1/200

We worked so fast that morning that we had an hour left to play some more. We decided to run away from the arriving sun to avoid working in harsh conditions. Since I had a powerful flash with me we could have worked something out ( see closer to the edge...) But we preferred changing location for a few shots indoors in a warehouse nearby.

To summarize, this morning was really awesome. Vanesa blew me away, with her professional attitude and skills. Communication was so easy with her that, sometimes, I barely spoke to explain how I wanted to take my pictures. I really hope we will have the opportunity to work together again for another epic photoshoot.


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