I started receiving emails on how I shot this from other photographers and though I have tried to stay away from tutorials as this blog is more for clients and people who just enjoy photography I decided it was easier to write this out in a blog than it was to answer each individual email.
The setup for this is simple I placed the band members according to shirt color. Joey’s black shirt went to the front. I had tried putting him closer to the center but Seab’s white shirt was too close to the light and made it hard to maintain detail.
I placed the band members about 6 feet from the light source which was a AlienBees B800 fired into a large 42” white reflective umbrella. The light was powered by a Vagabond power pack. I set the light is set to full power to give me enough depth of field to keep everyone in focus.
My I set my camera to f10 at 1/160 of a second. The flash exposure is controlled only by the f-stop, while ambient light is controlled by shutter speed and f-stop. I wanted my ambient to be slightly underexposed so I adjusted my shutter speed till the camera meter read one stop under at f10.
Though shooting gets this almost perfect for the overall effect I wanted I needed to finish in photoshop. To begin with I did a double process in RAW, to do this I opened my image in RAW and processed the image, by holding the shift key the open image. This allows you to create a duplicate layer which you can then reprocess in RAW. By adjusting the fill, black, clarity, and saturation you can create a very high contrast black and white image. Back in photoshop you can turn this into an overlay layer and get an extreme amount of details.
I then added a black layer mask and with a brush set at 20% selectively brushed in the detail. Then using a quick mask I selected the sky and used curves to boost contrast. I then added a little dodge and burn to push shadows and highlights. Then as a final step I combined the layers converted it to Vivid Light and inverted it. After that I ran surface blur set very high to about 50 pixels. On a new layer I combined all the layers including the now ugly grey Vivid layer into a ugly grey layer. Delete the Vivid layer, desaturate your grey layer and convert it to overlay. You will see what is called crazy, freaky, detail. Add a black layer mask and with that 20% white brush bring in the detail where you want it in the amount you want.
Final result depending on how much you bring back in is a detailed picture from shadow to highlights.