Black Widow

So recently on Instagram I made pledge to eat more pizza and do more shoots. Well “Pizza Mondays” are now a thing in our household…

While eating pizza and discussing Avengers — Age of Ultron with Spadgerina we noted how similar her hair was to Black Widow aka Natasha Romanoff — we also realised that she still had a black catsuit from a previous shoot. The stars were aligning.

I wanted to do something low key but without losing atmosphere. Smoke seemed like the obvious way to go, especially when combined with a flash and a coloured gel. Smoke machines are ridiculously cheap on eBay btw… and some of them even come with really handy 1980s style remote controls.

I time lapsed the shoot so there is a video at the bottom of the whole setup, along with a Rick Nunn style lighting diagram. Enjoy!

Black Widow - Strobist Portrait of Spadge as Black Widow Photographed by Rick Nunn
Black Widow - Strobist Portrait of Spadge as Black Widow with Gun and Glowing Baton Photographed by Rick Nunn

The Backdrop

I picked up a slightly excessive backdrop to shoot this, 3 by 6 metres sounds a reasonable size on paper/screen… but in reality it made a very large room feel quite small.

We also had to do some trickery with velcro to get it to loop over the frame — I might have forgotten my clamps. 

I regret nothing!  And now I have a studio backdrop that fits in my car!

The Props

Most items were really easy to get hold of but I really wanted to feature the batons she used in the latest film. Blue glowing stuff is cool… period.

Tricky prop to find though! I ended up buying some mountain bike grips, and some extra large blue glow sticks! They worked really well. 

Black Widow - Strobist Portrait of Spadge as Black Widow with Glowing Batons Photographed by Rick Nunn
Black Widow - Strobist Portrait of Spadge as Black Widow Photographed by Rick Nunn

Spadge absolutely nailed Natasha… 

Black Widow - Black Widow 5 Photographed by Rick Nunn
Black Widow - Strobist Portrait of Spadge as Black Widow With Me Hanging Out!  Photographed by Rick Nunn

Behind The Scenes

I love stacking two lights on top of each other like I have on the right here.

It means the lights can be quite close to the subject but still get good head to foot coverage — notice the soft sheen that follows the leg down. 

Black Widow - Behind the scenes of the Black Widow Strobist Photo Shoot Photographed by Rick Nunn
Black Widow - My new G-Drive EV ATC - Storage With A Taste For Adventure Photographed by Rick Nunn

Workflow

The guys at G-Technology recently sent me over their new thunderbolt G Drive EV ATC which has already firmly secured its place in my workflow. They dub it "Storage With A Taste For Adventure" — it's shock and drop resistant, water proof, pressure resistant, dust resistant, it floats, and so far it's been Bandit proof. 

Having a drive that I don't have to be very careful with is awesome, I'm not clumsy or anything… but you know life has a habit of happening. And that means knocks, drops and bangs.

I'll be putting this bad boy though its paces over the next month or so, I'll be sure to let you know what I think.

Lighting Diagram

Lighting Diagram for Black Widow

Equipment

Camera Settings

  • Shutter Speed: 1/100th
  • Aperture: F/4.5
  • ISO: 100

Behind The Scenes Video!

You’ll notice I’ve got a large reflector out in the video — not for any sort of lighting purpose, it just makes a great smoke wafter!

Comments

  • Nailed it good & proper!

  • Nailed it guys! Such a rad team.

  • Paul Kelly

    Great work guys, love the video too

  • Bimmer

    Rick… Thank you so much for sharing this stuff. I’ve got all the gear. Now I just need to put it into practice. Your stuff helps so much. #Followed