Hot Mess Pre-production

Ok, here's the situation. My parents went away on a week's vacation and...  Ok, just kidding.  What's really happened is that my friend Amy whom you all saw last week in one of my 365s has asked me once again to take pictures to promote her web series Hot Mess.  Last year we shot both individual and group shots in a pin-up style.  I was rather happy with the outcome and think they look pretty good as a series. This year we're going to do just a group shot, however she's added more characters, so instead of the 4 from last year there are a total of 7 'messes'.  We'll be shooting here are my place which does give some logistical problems (it's not that big) but I think we'll manage.  The concept Amy came with is to take all 7 girls in black dresses and wrap them together in caution tape.  In fact she's even sent me a sketch of what she means:

Ok, so I know we're stacking them together like that. How it'll actually work when they're all here, I guess we'll find out tonight. I am concerned with how I'm going to make sure they don't all block each other's light and what I end up with is half the scene in shadow. So that's a problem.

I've also got to figure out what we're trying to say with the lighting. I mean, I could easily shoot them on white again and do a similar pin-up motif as last year. It would work and maybe we'll end up trying it, but I don't want to rehash the same thing.

So maybe we go the other way and shoot on gray or black and light it so it looks like they're getting caught by a police searchlight. Maybe even shoot on the paper, but turn it into a composite so they're in front of a big brick wall or gated up storefront or similar city scene. It's not a bad idea, now I've just got to figure out the lighting plan. Here's where I plan to start.

So, 9' seamless with a softbox over both rear top corners to give an edge to as much as possible. This should make it more cinematic and allow them to pop out a bit from the background This should also help if I end up doing a composite. Nice contrasty absolute edges make everything easier.

For a mainlight, I'm thinking about using my ringlight which I rarely use. Most of the time I find it far too powerful for the distances that I work from, and don't really like the tell-tale edge shadows it produces. However I used it to good effect on the Atari picture of Heather a few weeks ago so maybe it'll work here. Plus the rear boxes may do a bit to negate those pesky shadows in the first place and I'm planning on backing up and shooting with a longer lens this time as well. As a second option, I could also just setup a bare strobe right above them camera which would probably work as well.  One additional advantage of the ring is that if the camera can see it, it'll be lit. Which helps my fear of them blocking each other's light if I have it coming from either side.

I'm going to spend an hour or so setting all this up in a bit. Will let you know how it shakes out in a bit.