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I.O.Shen Knives – Circus photoshoot

12/02/2016 ISO 1200 Magazine 0 Comments

Working with I.O.Shen Knives on some publicity imagery I got to thinking… how professional chef knives get used and abused. Having shot many chefs at work I was struck by the showmanship knife skills and it didn’t take long before I started looking at knife throwing circus performers.

The concept was to keep things simple and stay with strong styling and set design. After building the target we set that in the studio and cut slits in the board to hold those razor sharp blades (safely)

I thought we’d shoot this image as two images – one with the target and knives and one with only the model to keep things safe! Due to the number of camera angles I wanted to shoot I didn’t want to be limited by a fixed position; so I chose to have the knives and model in the same space and the same time. This kept me on my toes and most of the video footage shot shows me asking Lauren not to move her arms around too much. I didn’t want to stop the shoot for a trip to A&E.

To light this project 

I started by looking at circus imagery and thought about how the lighting would appear in a circus tent.

The main aim was to get a top lit target, but with limited ceiling space I opted to bounce a small 18cm gridded reflector off the low ceiling. I used a Quadra battery pack and set the second lamp (a slightly lower powered unit) to bounce downwards off the floor and up into the set to balance the shadow details.

Here’s a quick doodle lighting diagram – enjoy.
Sian was on hand to ensure hair and makeup was always at its best. Lauren took to the set after some time in makeup getting “clowned” and soon got into the role. Her acting skills made direction and interaction with the camera a joy. Shawn’s style of filming was to get in amongst the action with a handheld camera; this captured a gritty feel.

A little touch of post production keeping things raw and unpolished was in-keeping with the old circus stills that helped inspire the shoot.

This article and all the images were originally published on and shared with his permission

About Author:

Richard Budd is a Professional Photographer - based in Dorset, UK. Covering weddings, events and commercial photography / design work.  Available for worldwide commissions…Let's Get Connected: 

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