Red Hot Annie

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Red Hot Annie, Chicago-based burlesque dancer, dropped by Vancouver last week to participate in the Vancouver International Burlesque Festival.  She contacted me via Model Mayhem and we arranged a shoot at my studio in between her classes and performances.  The night before the shoot, we had a chance to meet at Whineos restaurant on Granville when she did a couple of acts with the Diamond Mine show -- a great show and atmosphere by the way, and performances every Wednesday night at 10.

One of the great things about doing a shoot is meeting cool people.  Not only does she perform, but also produces shows, does makeup for a living, and designs the occasional website.  And she photographs very nicely, has her own outfits, does her own makeup (of course), and is a gem to work with.  Photographer heaven!  Did I mention the red hair?

We didn't really have a specific bunch of things we needed, other than my wanting to try one shot I had been thinking about, so we just played it by ear (eye?), starting off with some headshots to warm up.  I'd also rented an Elinchrom octabank / Profoto Acute2 setup to try out.  First up was a beauty dish combo:

Some pinuppy work just with the giant Octa:

Annie with the Octa again, with an SB-800 on a stand and a stripbox to give her some rim lighting and backlight the red feathers:

And finally, one of the shots I had in my head:

We got a variety of different shots in only about 3-1/2 hours, switching from one costume and lighting setup to another, rapid-fire.  Lots of work, but we were both into it and having fun, and the results were definitely worthwhile.  You know you had a good shoot when you're pretty beat at the end of it!

Octabanks generate beautiful light regardless, but the Elinchrom is definitely the easiest to set up, folding up like a giant umbrella instead of being a giant softbox.  It'll definitely be worthwhile adding one to my stable of modifiers just for the convenience alone.  Boy, do you ever need a decent stand and sandbags with it, though, as it's a pretty unwieldy beast.  Elinchrom's stuff is really nice, but their bayonet attachment is a bit of a letdown.  The Profoto Acute2 1200R was a solid, lightweight, no-nonsense pack, made very convenient with the PocketWizard sync interface.  Definitely worth considering as my movable studio setup, even though my investment so far has been in Hensel Porty gear.

Annie, I hope you'll be back in town again.  Otherwise, you've given me a great reason to return to Chicago one of these days (I spent many months in Bloomington, IL in my Microsoft days)!


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