The Catherine Hall Studios Holiday Card needed to be something new. After years of sharing images that represent our sense of beauty and inspiration, this year felt right to show our team. Each member of our staff is integral to the studio and it was very important to us to honor them in this way.

At CHS, we have a room that is devoted to meetings and consultations. With mid tone walls, a custom hardwood floor, and a chandelier, it was the ideal place to shoot a glamorous group portrait.

The space was not designed for shooting, however, and has standard ceiling height, and windows that allow the afternoon light stream in and onto the back wall. So … we shot it at night! See that lovely sunlight pouring through a blown out window? That’s two lights doing different jobs. One on a white sunbounce to blow out the window background and give the impression of bright daytime and the other to stream through the window and onto the floor at an angle that would look good on camera … rather than random streaks the real sun put on the back wall. Guess what? That window frame cross hatch is actually duct tape. That small touch was integral to giving the space the feel of a glamorous residence rather than the commercial space that it actually is.

Lighting the group was a fun challenge in a medium sized room without vaulted ceilings.  By tossing the camera in the hall outside the door, the subjects could be pulled forward just enough so that hard shadows on the back wall could be minimized. A bounce was placed against the wall so that a large soft push of light would evenly light everyone and still allow for some gradient on curved surfaces. Another light was rigged to the ceiling to bounce light behind the subjects to minimize the wall shadows and also fill in the dark side of faces a bit.

The chandelier was a challenge. It actually sits higher in the room and is in front of the window when looked at from the door where the camera position was.  It was therefore unbolted and a C-Stand was used to arm it into set from the left side of frame so that it was both low enough and in front of wall rather than window.

Time for the pretty ladies, hot evening dresses for the wardrobe, makeup, jewelry, a little direction on hand and leg placement, some camera clicks … you know the rest.

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