My Favorite Model and Biggest Fan

Below is a photograph of my beautiful daughter, Iris Lorraine. Having a camera shoved in her face for most of her life, she's become quite the agreeable model. She's always willing and almost always has a fun time with it. We wanted to create something analogous to that tag-line that does not include the actual product or service (something totally unrelated to the product, but directly related to the tag-line). The ad was for Fidelity Financial Services. The simple tag-line: Protect Your Investments. Our analogy: my daughter, being protected, by a seat-belt. I won't bore you with the technical details of the shot by forcing you to read through them, but if you are interested, read below.

I wanted the shot to look like the interior of a car at nighttime. I had to shoot this in broad daylight, however, and that can sometimes get a little tricky. The first trick is to properly expose your subject (as if lit by a particular source, in this case the interior car light) and then let the ambient light fall at least a couple stops below this value in order to get a fairly high amount of overall contrast to the scene, as you would experience in a similar situation at night. In practice, one simple way to do that would be to set your camera to underexpose the ambient by 2 stops and then adjust the power of the flash until your meter gives you the exposure that you have set in your camera (or until the surface of your subject is properly exposed).

I, of course, had very limited room to work with in the back seat of a two-door Honda Civic, so a couple of small lights did the job just fine. I gelled the key light with a 1/2 CTO in order to warm up the light on Iris so that it would appear as if the light was coming from a tungsten source like the interior light of a car. Yes, this light is a bit overstated for an interior dome light, but some things are okay to fudge a little, as long as the integrity of the shot as a whole still holds together. If the viewer still believes it without really having to think about it, then it doesn't really matter if that's how it looks in the "real world". Remember, we're in the business of faking it... we get paid to "lie".

Another technique used here is the secondary light source coming through the window, camera left. Nighttime, interior light usually reads as warm (or "yellow/orange-ish") while nighttime extiror light reads usually reads as cooler (or "blue"). Whether it's moonlight or a streetlight of some sort didn't necessarily matter to me in this shot, but it needed that secondary light source in order to make the shot look real and in order for it to read immediately: in a car, outside, at night. I simply placed another light outside the back window of the car and angled it down so that the direction of the light would mimic that of the moon, or a streetlight. I powered it so that the exposure was about 1/3 -  2/3 below that of the key light.