BTS: A Photoshoot with the Madventures

About a week and a half ago, my friends from the Autolla Nepaliin-project organised a special event where they talked about their amazing journey: they have driven an old van all the way from Finland to Nepal, for charity, and raised over 50,000€ with this trip. They had invited Madventures - two famous finnish explorers - to the event. I knew they were coming to the event, and we had decided we'd try to organise a very quick celebrity shoot at the event.

A photo that I took at the Autolla Nepaliin -event.

A photo that I took at the Autolla Nepaliin -event.

Knowing that the guys wouldn't be around for a very long time, I knew that I'd have to prepare and test out my setup long before they'd arrive. I asked one of my friends to stand in as a test-model, while I setup and tested the lights:


The lighting setup was nice and simple. I had a large octabox acting as the main light coming from the camera left. I set it up high at a 45° angle. A large octa like this creates a beautiful soft light on the subjects face, and creates those nice round catchlights in the subjects eyes. Then to create just a tiny bit of separation from the background I had a stripbox on the right side of the subject. This light was on a very low power, giving just a tiny bit of detail and separation on the back of the subject. And finally, to make the shadow side of the face a bit darker I placed a black styrofoamboard on the right side of the face to darken and deepen the shadows.

Lighting setup

Settings & the shoot

Then the camera settings: I was shooting at f/7.1 with a shutter speed of 1/160 of a second, ISO100. And equipment-wise I was using the Canon 1Ds Mk3 and a 70-200mm f/4 IS USM lens (my own camera was used to photograph another setup at the event, and this is why I used this set of equipment that I borrowed from a friend of mine).

When the guys arrived on set, I literally had about a minute to shoot them. They took their coats off, I shook hands with them, and then we started shooting. Five frames later we were done, they put their coats back on and headed to their next event. A super fast shoot - but as I had everything well prepared and planned out, it really wasn't a problem at all. 


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I knew that I'd have to make these photos look a bit more interesting in post. We didn't have time to setup any textured backgrounds or use smoke etc, to add interest into the photos, so I decided to add that extra "mood and interest" in post. I desaturated the photo, dodged and burned the subject, and added a few different textures on the background and foreground. And finally, to keep the focus on the subject, I used the 'iris blur'-tool to gradually blur everything except the subjects face. A bit of sharpening and the photo was ready to be published! :)

Final photo

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Lauri Laukkanen1 Comment