coming through the windows, as well as giving
us the option to remove [the gels] between
shots if I wanted harder light falling on the
background,” May explains. A hazer placed
out of the frame added mist near the beams of
strobe light pouring through the windows.
There were about 35 crew members on the
set, including hair and makeup stylists, grips,
Hadid’s assistant and a crew shooting behind-the-scenes video.
For the shots of Hadid in the gym, May chose
to use strobes powered with Broncolor Scoro
3200 packs with built-in RFS receivers because
“the speed is more controllable,” she says.
Outside, she set up four Broncolor twin
heads with P65 reflectors and gelled them
with ¼ CT straw to warm the light blasting
through the windows.
Indoors, she set up two 20x20-foot framed
silks. Behind each silk was a strobe head with
white umbrellas firing. With the diffused
strobes placed behind her camera, May says,
she created the illusion that there was another
wall of windows somewhere in the space.
She had an additional light that was
placed on a rolling stand or handheld by an
assistant. For some shots, the head was fitted
with a sock or a grid. This supplemental
light helped provide fill “on, say, an all-black
outfit,” she explains.
When Hadid was in the middle of the
room, she was backlit by the window light,
and the diffused strobes lightened the
shadows cast on the floor. When Hadid posed
closer to the window, the outside light acted
as a rim light.
May shot handheld with a Nikon D810
tethered to a monitor. “We were moving
really fast because we had a lot of shots
to get in,” she recalls. “If I’m seeing
spontaneity I want to capture, or I’m trying
to capture personality, I want to shoot
fast.” Throughout the shoot, she says, she
switched between a 24-70mm zoom or a
70-200mm, and sometimes used an 85mm,
“because it’s a beautiful prime for portraits.”
For most of the gym shots, she said, she
shot at 1/250th.
Throughout the busy shoot, the clients were
checking the monitor. “On a shoot like this,
it’s really helpful for me to have an open
dialogue with the creatives on set about what
is being captured and knowing when we’ve
got the shot, so we can move on to the next
shot or setup,” May explains.
On the Reebok assignment, the client was
handling all the retouching. May says she often
gives a retoucher notes on the color. Before she
adds a photo to her portfolio, she does her own
retouching, because “I like to finalize the grain
and color,” she says. She works primarily in
Photoshop, and uses Capture One and Lightroom
“depending on what I feel is needed.”
When an assignment calls for multiple
photos, May likes to send the client some of
her selections in a PDF she’s designed in
InDesign so they look like a cohesive story.
She explains, “When you shoot a lot of different
scenarios, wardrobe changes and angles, it’s
nice to see how they look together.” she says.
“I think that presenting an edit this way directly
after the shoot is a nice way for me to see how
the project can potentially come together.”