“I love working with color,” says Nick Fancher. “To say that it inspires me is an understatement.” The Columbus, Ohio-based photographer also loves lighting—last year he landed the cover of Rf‘s April Lighting Issue and an article inside, “Lighting on the Fly,” in which he talked about his then-most-recent book, Studio Anywhere (he now has multiple books on run-and-gun lighting).
But, back to color: “When I stumbled upon the paintings of Vladimir Tretchikoff, specifically his piece Chinese Girl, I instantly fell in love. I also love Jill Greenberg’s portraits of Pharrell Williams and Daft Punk. Her use of color in combination with a star filter is simply brilliant. I decided that it’d be fun to combine elements from both artists for my shoot with Priscilla.”
Fancher’s photographed Priscilla several times over the last few years, he says, and when the concept for this shoot came to mind, he pegged her right away. “Her skin is flawless and bone structure is god-like,” he says. “I asked her to bring fabric for a head wrap as well as any sparkly garments that she owned. She brought a wonderful sequined dress that I knew would catch the light beautifully.”
One tip about using a star filter, Fancher notes: “They are most effective if you have small points of light, such as Christmas lights or in this case, light reflected off hundreds of sequins. You will need to be patient and try subtly changing your angle in relation to the model, and light as you shoot in order to get the best possible sparkles.”
Using a Canon 5D Mark III and 85mm f/1.2L II lens with Cactus RF60 flashes and a V6 transmitter, Fancher placed a white sweep right behind Priscilla so that it would “pick up the colors and glow from my lights,” he says. “My main light was placed to the side of the model, parallel to the backdrop and gelled cyan. I attached some DIY barn doors to the light that I made out of black foam core in order to transform it into a narrow light stream. My fill light was gelled magenta and placed on my hot shoe with a Neewer round flash diffuser attached to give the light a ring flash effect.”