This is one of our favourite images from a recent studio shoot with Papagena, the all-female vocal quintet.
Anna explains the background to the image: “The concept for the shoot was that each band member wanted to feel like an individual, but at the same time, there needed to be the cohesive sense of a band. If you know the individual members, you can easily tell who’s who – there is something that is characteristically ‘them’, even in a silhouette. I remember Lizzie really chuckling at hers because the details – the little pointy bits on her jacket and the cute ponytail – were just so ‘her’. I think this worked similarly well with each member – their individuality really shines through, whilst the shot hangs together well as a whole.
“We were in a smallish studio – so I took each photograph separately and then ‘comped’ them together. This meant that I had to construct the shadows myself and also add a stock image of some nice flooring.
“It was a really interesting process and I learnt a lot about shadows! They are one of those things that can just look ‘wrong’; your brain seems to know that they’re not quite right, but you don’t know why. Getting it right was tricky because of how shadows change – the lines of the shadow are hard close to the subject, then more fuzzy as they get further away. Shadows are also darker closer to the subject, then more diffuse. So, in photoshop, I created the shadow shapes initially from the subject outlines, and then was working with the gradient tool, and the transform tool to finesse them.
“This sort of burnt-background silhouette, with a pure black subject, obviously looks very graphic, but it is a photograph! It’s been really rewarding to see all the positive reactions from their followers on social media – it’s one of my favourite images from the shoot.”