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A personal project borne of the CreativeLive sessions mentioned in my last post led to the creation of a monthly project. This month’s offering is “Junk Store Superhero” and consisted of a trip to several second-hand stores, and an afternoon shooting photos out and about in the city of Calgary..

Starring in this installment was VonBonbon (“V” for short) and her mild mannered alter-ego Tasha. Makeup by Amanda Cook and hair by Mike Lindee.

I’d been itching to get outside and shoot for a while, and realized very quickly the limits of small flashes again..   Making use of our studio experience in Seattle was helpful, but I did fight a fair bit to balance natural light..  A challenge for sure!

The setup changed for as we moved around, however for the most part I used a single strobe shot into a smallish (40″??) umbrella.   Lenses were a 50mm and 90mm f/1.8’s and a 70-200 f/2.8 sat on a D700.

Since this was all an experiment things went right, annnnd..  things went wrong.  Some key takeaways for this shoot:

Long days:

We started in the afternoon and went pretty darn late.  Looking for inspiration for the costume and style in the junk store is great, but significantly increases the length of the day. I’d split the purchasing and shooting up in to two days in the future.


Food is always appreciated when you’re going for anything more than an hour.  I had enough water, powerade, and munchies for us to settle our grumbling tummies.  That was money well spent.

Have a plan:

The plan with this shoot was to have no plan.  This was a bad idea. It made things pretty helter-skelter when we actually got to shooting and reactive rather than proactive when it came to working in specific locations. I feel this shows in the photos.  Having a few specific shots (or at least a solid location) in mind to get started is a much better idea than ‘let’s see what we can find’

Continuing on with the benefit of a good plan, as the photographer having a clearer idea of what I actually wanted from the shoot would have also made things smoother in that I could have provided better direction.

My model was incredibly patient and willing to take direction, but I (in hindsight) feel like I was relying too much on her to just come up with superhero-ish poses and situations which was a bit unfair.

Tasha did a great job of doing the ‘model’ thing and the result was most of the images came across more like a fashion shoot than a superhero in a specific situation.  This was not intentional, and the results are pleasing, but not acceptable if we’re looking at this from the perspective of a commercial shoot (where, to be fair, we’d have a plan..  See where this is going? :)

Have an assistant

Having an assistant to help out with lights, bags and logistics would have been incredibly helpful..  Mike and Amanda did a great job of lending a hand but unfortunately weren’t able to stay ’till the end of the day so I ended up hauling gear and trying to focus on what I wanted to shoot..  I’m not good enough for that to be a 100% slam dunk yet.  Working on it.

Request for feedback:

So there ya go.  As always I’m open to feedback on the shots and the commentary above.  How do y’all think this turned out? Where could I make improvements? What would you have done differently? Also… How do the colors look?   I’ve just dug the color calibrator out and everything grey looks kinda pink now…  :0/

Here are a few of the shots for you to see..

Final Images

Junk Store superhero

Junk Store superhero
Junk Store superhero

Junk Store superhero

Junk Store superhero