How I Took It 2012 Contest 

This is one of my favourite shots of my daughter and I wanted to share my set up and how I took it.
I had this shot in mind for a while and finally got round to doing it but first I needed the props.
I went into a costume shop looking for a chefs outfit but came out with just the hat which was £8 pounds and that was expensive, I didn't bother with the rest of the outfit due to the price of around £50 pounds so made up my own to save the cash.
We now had the hat so I bought two cheap plain long sleeve tops for £2 pounds and some cheap tea towels to use as the ascot for around the neck.
To make the top look like a chefs outfit I used a black marker pen and drew two long lines from top to bottom then drew on the buttons.
I put the tea towel around her neck and held it in place with crocodile clips to give the impression of a chefs ascot.
All that was needed now was for my daughter to wash her face and to have her hair put into two pigtails with red hair bands and put on the chefs hat.
This is actually two shots to get the effect with the fingers chopped off, the first shot was for the expression and actual pose.
We took a few shots to get the right expression with the eyes wide and mouth open and I think we bagged it with this one.
The second shot was basically for the hand so I took the props away and moved her hand forward and took the picture ready for post processing.

Here is the second picture with her hand moved forward

For the first shot I was really nervous using such a big sharp knife so I placed the carrot down first, I then placed the knife down and asked my daughter to hold the handle and not move, she then placed her bunched up fist against the knife itself and then we took the shot.
For the second shot above I took away the carrot and knife and just moved her hand forward slightly, this was the two shots I needed for my end result.

This shot was taken in our front room and the kitchen work surface is actually our sideboard pulled away from the wall.
This shot shows what you can achieve in such a small working area as you can see below.

I would have liked to have been further away from the wall to get a more even spread from the two flashguns but the space was minimal and my daughter was just 1-2ft away from the background.

For the backdrop I cut a sheet of white paper roll and stuck it to the wall with tape this was to give as even and smooth background as possible.

Lighting Set-up
For the lighting I used
2x Jessops 360 AFD's for the background
1x elemental strobe with softbox
1x elemental strobe with beauty dish and diffuser
All fired off camera using yongnuo triggers and receivers

Diagram possible thanks to Kevin Kertzs lighting tool.

I didn't have enough receivers to fire all my lights so used the built in sensor of my elemental studio lights to fire the other one when the other flashes fired.
The two Jessops 360 AFD's where either side of my model and pointed towards the backdrop to create that pure white effect.
The two elemental pro 600 strobes where either side of my Nikon D300s and where raised and pointing down towards the model.
My Nikon D300s was placed centre stage on my Manfrotto tripod and fired using my Hahnel cable release.

Nikon D300s
Nikon 16-85 @35mm
Manual Mode
ISO 200
2X Jessops 360 AFD's ( camera left 1/4 power)(camera right 1/8 power) both 24mm zoom
Elemental M Series Ultra Pro Studio 600( camera left beauty dish 1/4 power)(camera right softbox 1/2 power)

Post processing
I placed my two images in photoshop then layered one on top of the other and created a mask for the top layer.
I then used the eraser tool to rub away the section of picture I didn't want which then showed the part of the picture below to create the chopped finger effect.
My backdrop wasn't as white as I intended due to the lack of space behind the model.
I used the dodge tool set to highlights and moved the slider to around 50%, I then brushed over the backdrop to get that pure white effect I was after.
I finished off with an 's' curve to boost the contrast and a little unsharp mask to add detail and clarity to the final image.

I hope you enjoyed reading how I achieved this picture and please feel free to add comments and views. 
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