Risky Business – Toddler edition

Risky Toddler

My wife and I talk all the time ( wow right? what kind of married couple are we?!?). As I mentioned in my first post, I’m not a big fan of snapshots, otherwise I would have stuck with a point and shoot camera. I like being able to come up with an idea, and try to visualize it for a shoot. Sometimes….I get “writer’s block”.

It just so happens during our talk, we were discussing ideas for our son’s next set of pictures. We got side-tracked and started talking about movies. My wife mentioned Risky Business, and the scene with Tom Cruise dancing around in a white dress shirt, underwear, and socks. She thought it would be cute if our son re-enacted that scene (at least as much as a rambunctious 23 month old can anyway).

So while my wife searched for suitable attire, I went to work to quickly try and setup my gear. I ended up using 3 speedlites (2 bare, 1 in a softbox). I probably could have gotten away with just the one main speedlite. Anyway, I took a few test shots to get my exposure right, and settled on f/8, 1/160s, ISO 100.

My setup was like so:

The 580 EX II was in a 28″ softbox overhead, at about a 45 degree angle pointing down. This was possible thanks to the Phottix Multi-boom Flash Bracket.
Power was set to 1/2.

risky business lighting diagram


The two side lights were set to 1/128th power with the built-in wide angle diffuser, so they were barely producing any light at all (hence why I said I might have been able to get away with just the one light, but I didn’t test that theory, so oh well).

All 3 flashes were controlled through my Phottix Odins.

My “studio” for this particular session was our hallway.

Now…I don’t know how people get these young actors and actresses to understand, comprehend, and then act how they are told or scripted. My son seems to just “wing” it. In other words….he does what he wants to do. I tried taking some shots of him standing up, dancing around in his outfit, but he didn’t want anything to do with it….

My wife and I are not above bribing our son to get him to do what we want 🙂 Our weapon of choice for that particular “battle”……gummi snacks!

You can see bribing evidence if you look closely at his right hand in this first shot.

We were finally able to get him to settle down and sit in his chair (the same chair I took his “Sweet Dreams” picture with). So technically it’s not re-enacting a Risky Business scene….I guess it’s Risky Business “inspired”.

Post-processing involved a bit of sharpening, vignette, and a little white balance tweaking. I do (or try to do) all of my post-processing in Lightroom. I find the flow a lot easier than trying to work in Photoshop…..I don’t know what the hell half the stuff does in Photoshop. It’s like owning a Ferrari and never going above second gear…


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