Haircut in a Flash | Long Exposure Barber Shop Photography

It's nearly that time again... time for the Georgia National Fair! Last year was the first year I had ever entered the photography portion of the fair. I entered two photos that were both taken at Old World Barber Shoppe in Warner Robins, GA. One took the Master monochrome title and the other placed 5th. I was ecstatic, but wondered can I top it and if so, how?

There is something about Black and White barbershop photos. I knew it would be another barbershop photo, but what. Then I came across a photographer that did a series of long exposure photographs with ballet, catching the movements of the dancers. I paid more attention the next time I got a hair cut to the movement of the barber's hands and arms, similar to a dance. I thought I would do the whole hair cut in one shot! but how....

La Hora Loca; Example of Dragging the shutter at a wedding reception.

La Hora Loca; Example of Dragging the shutter at a wedding reception.

At wedding receptions I will sometimes drag the shutter and use a rear curtain flash to freeze the person, but have the light trails. I figured I would try something similar, but the issue this time was I couldn't hold the camera to physically alter the movements and even then at weddings I am just moving the light... Thankfully a fellow photographer and good friend Jared Lindley was on scene and ended up being the model. This was a huge benefit as Jared knows he would need to be very still.

Game Time

 The day came and I set everything up. We played with ambient light and movements to see how fast we needed to have movement. I knew I would need a continuous light for the hand movements as well as a controlled flash to freeze my subject much like at a wedding. We shut down all the lights in the shop but one and started working. below are the trials and errors. Big thank you to the patience and dedication of Jason Patridge and Jared Lindley as is was not a quick process.  There was still some clean up involved on the post-processing side, as you can figure, but over all I am very happy at this attempt and am anxious to see where it goes.   

test test...

test test...

getting the light right

getting the light right

testing and timing movements... dust on camera mirror...  

testing and timing movements... dust on camera mirror...

 

light is getting better, Jason is still a ghost... pumped the brakes and took a step back, slowed down. colors started getting funky, but white balance wasn't really a concern as it was planned to be in Black and White. the longer the exposure, the more I notice I need to clean the camera mirror...

light is getting better, Jason is still a ghost... pumped the brakes and took a step back, slowed down. colors started getting funky, but white balance wasn't really a concern as it was planned to be in Black and White. the longer the exposure, the more I notice I need to clean the camera mirror...

Adding more steps... too much light... changed F-Stop killed ambient and fixed intensity  

Adding more steps... too much light... changed F-Stop killed ambient and fixed intensity

 

Once we got this and the timing was set it was just adding the steps and a little post processing cleanup

Once we got this and the timing was set it was just adding the steps and a little post processing cleanup

 

Final Image