That was the main focus for this event. Well, actually it was supposed to be the main focus for the event prior but the mylar I ordered ended up being a full month late! For those that don't know what it is, mylar is a super reflective material commonly used as an electrical and thermal insulator, reflective material, and decoration.
I got the inspiration to use mylar from Lindsay Adler, an NYC based photographer who I really like for her creative use of colours and she had a full YouTube tutorial breaking everything down. Of course, it always looks a lot easier in theory but in practice there were quite a few challenges. As it was my first experience with this material, I can only now assume that not all mylar is the same. For some reason the material is super expensive in Japan so I ordered from a supplier that would import from China (hence why the delivery was also a month late!). The mylar I received was very thin in contrast to what Lindsay seemed to be using which seemed a bit more thick like in the above photo. The issue with that is the amount of wrinkles you need to work with in your final photos. The second challenge was setting up the lights in a way that would bounce off of the mylar on the floor and reflect back on to the back drop like a glimmering ocean. Well, that was the aim. In practice it was another story. I first tried on a black backdrop and try as I might the effect was pretty underwhelming. Then I tried a setup where instead of relying solely on the mylar on the floor I would set up a second light to bounce mylar off to the side of the backdrop. This seemed to magnify the effect. Lastly, I switched the black for a grey backdrop and this got me pretty close to what I was looking for. The haphazard view in the video below is pretty close to what the final setup looked like on shoot day however I ended up bouncing a speedlight off to the side instead of constant light from the front.
To maximize the effects I asked our model, Kaguyah Mandalia, if she had something shiny and reflective to wear and she absolutely delivered on that front bringing with her a beautiful glimmering dress and boots.
Lastly, the final touches. This was the perfect opportunity to pull out the 6 x cross filter to give those magical star effects. Also in a few images I toyed around with the use of a centerfield split prism filter to add even more surrealism to the images.
Here were some of the results from that shoot!
I think this was my favourite image... what do you think?
For the final two setups we went for a couple of different themes. Staying on the reflective series we went for a more fashion editorial look in one scene and a more S&M bondage look for another using an optical snoot.
Here are a few pics including some BTS but I'll be adding more to my instagram in the coming weeks! Stay tuned.
That's a wrap! Let me know what you think in the comments, I love to hear any feedback you got!
Lastly, I've already got the next event on the books so if you're in the Tokyo area and would like to join we will be hosting a new model, Mia Haruno, for the next edition of our Experiments in Light | Colour | Form series. All the details and signup can be found on the meetup page here.
Thanks for reading and as always, be sure to do something creative today!