With just a small amount of time, limited studio space and only one model, Korean fashion photographer Ray Kay was up for a challenge. Nevertheless, with the help of Profoto D2, Profoto B1 and Profoto B10, he was able to successfully create a number of fashion images. “The way to describe different moods and stories through images all depends on the lighting set-up, this time I wanted to create a retro and classic atmosphere”.
Tell us more about yourself, who is Ray Kay?
I’m a fashion and commercial photographer/filmmaker based in Seoul, Korea. I work with fashion magazines and brands all over the world, such as Vogue Italia and Design Scene UK and I have also shot the cover work for a New York fashion magazine. I travel to different countries and work with unique artists creating images that have a story and an emotional feeling behind them. I am always working in various ways to use lighting as a method to tell different stories and concepts.
Tell us about the “Find your mood” project.
I wanted to express the different concepts of a model looking for her own individuality over a period of time. One model, but different personas. We had to create very different images in a short amount of time and limited studio space. Makeup, styling, sets, props and everything else had to be well prepared, but it all depends on how you light everything up and how you describe the moods and the stories. This is because lighting illustrates the atmosphere as well as what time of day it is to the reader.
Why did you use lighting for the shoot?
First of all, you have to fully understand the atmosphere that you wish to express. When the light from the sunset shines through the window, it creates such a beautiful light and establishes an emotional mood. If you don’t have access to natural sunlight, you have to re-create it yourself, adjusting the textures and colors to resemble the feeling of natural light and allowing the emotion of the model to be seen in the picture.
What gear did you use?
I used Profoto D2, B1 and also B10. I had to create many different atmospheres, such as an indoor atmosphere with natural light or a bathroom or basement with the look of both artificial light and natural light, so I used various accessories. I mostly used Umbrella Deep White, but also Zoom Reflector, and sometimes OCF Beauty Dish as a bare head without any extra accessories. V-flat is essential for reflecting or cutting light.
What would you recommend to people who dream of becoming a fashion photographer?
I think that having time for the research it takes to find your own individuality is crucial. Fashion photographers must not only be able to understand portraits but also the various genres of photography such as landscapes, product photography, travel, and so on. The job also demands a sense of design, creativity, and communication. It is also great if you have enough time to find your own individuality with a broader perspective and do not merely focus on technique.