A photo shoot with Maria plus photos on Instagram.

Maria came to me for a photoshoot. I met her a long time ago during some exhibition, and Damian Black mentioned her to me even earlier. Damian is a makeup artist who does makeup on models for me about once a year. So, we were supposed to take photos with Maria a long time ago, but we always missed each other – she moved to the largest Thai island, Phuket. I, on the other hand, have only been to Phuket three times, not even taking my camera with me. Finally, we managed to meet for a photoshoot in Bangkok.

The shoot was planned as TFP (Time For Photos), and we didn’t have any plan, we only decided “let’s take some photos.” Instead of just photographing the face, we took wider shots than usual. Usually, in beauty shoots, models leave at least the lower part of their clothes on – if not all of them, then at least their underwear. As you can easily see, it looked a bit different here, so I assumed that full-body shots were also expected. Despite the typically beauty-focused makeup, the photos turned out very diverse.

Time for photoshoot #1

There were two photoshoots, the second one was more for Instagram snaps (you can find my IG profile here), but let’s start chronologically.

Gear-wise, it was boring – as usual, the D810 landed on a tripod with a Manfrotto pistol grip, which I have some objections about, but that’s for another time.

There is a YongNuo lamp controller attached to the camera, as one of them served me to illuminate shadows from below, and I still trigger studio lamps with RF triggers. To be more precise, I still use the old YongNuo RF602, which were made vero long time ago. Although since buying them in 2010, one of the triggers has died, the rest still work. The studio lamps are still Jinbei. One of them is slowly refusing to obey – probably just hit the floor one time too many. The remaining lamps are still doing well.

The camera sent photos to the iPad using a Wi-Fi memory card, which I wrote about in an article about tethering. The card was set to connect to my home network instead of directly to the iPad. Unfortunately, when it started to act up at some point, it couldn’t maintain a stable connection for the rest of the shoot, so it went on the shelf. So, in the end, instead of using the tablet, I used the LCD preview on the camera, and after the shoot, I reconfigured the card to ignore my router and establish a direct connection.

To the point!!! Almost there… Just a few lighting issues…

I took the photos in an unusual way for me, because I removed the honeycomb grid from the silver beauty dish 70 cm and photographed without it. I could go through my entire portfolio and I don’t know if I could find even one photo with a naked BD. I wanted a softer light than usual, without such strong shadows (the “net” that Maria had on would have shaded the body even more if I had used the grid). The rest is the most standard Voland style – black background, lit with the most ordinary lamp, umbrella on the ground and a rim light, in the form of a 90 x 20 cm strip. I thought about using two such softboxes, so on some behind-the-scenes, you can see both. However, the second one did not get turned on until the very end. I’m not posting the lighting diagram because the lights will be visible in the BTS video anyway. From the first shots, I initially chose 3 photos, and then decided on the first one. This is what it looked like:

Sesja zdjęciowa topless - RAWy
Preview: RAW files without retouch

First, I wanted to retouch this photo as all of my beauty photos used to look, i.e., in a darker tone and without bright light reflections. When I finished and moved on to the next photos, that style didn’t fit them due to the more luminous part of the make-up being visible. So, I processed them a little differently and went back to the first photo to make it resemble the rest. After all of this, I came to the conclusion that maybe very bright editing fits these photos, but not so much for me, so all of the photos were toned down a bit. Now they don’t look like my old beauty photos or like I initially assumed. Such a retouching soap opera. Anyway, the first photo on these combinations suffered greatly and I have to fix it someday, so there’s no point in posting it here, but other photos will appear…maybe. Fortunately I finished other photos:

Nikon D810 | 135 mm | F/8 | 1/200 | ISO 100

In total, there were a little over 50 RAWs from the shoot with Maria (including lighting tests). That’s not much for me. I often take twice as many photos on beauty shoots, and here the shots were the most diverse, so I could press the shutter release button one after the other even more. This caused some shots to be lost, e.g., with hands behind the head – the best shot there is out of focus, and the other photos differ quite significantly from each other, so in the end, there isn’t a single shot like that, but there are others.

Nikon D810 | 135 mm | F/8 | 1/200 | ISO 100

Something different

Many of the poses didn’t work for me with that make-up, which was typically for beauty. So, to not throw them all away, I chose at least two and converted them to black and white so that the make-up wouldn’t clash with the whole image.

Maria Klepchenko

Nikon D810 | 135 mm | F/8 | 1/200 | ISO 100

Nikon D810 | 135 mm | F/8 | 1/200 | ISO 100


As part of the backstage, at the end, a photo for keepsake for the makeup artist and the model:

Topless photoshoot - backstage

The photoshoot was also captured in a timelapse with a very old sports camera, which struggles in the light that prevailed during the photo session. People who expect at least a minimum of quality should not even play this recording:

Just in case, I’ll mention that the constant light lamp with an umbrella is only used for make-up. Slightly better quality was during the session coverage on Instagram, precisely here: Maria Backstage Story.

#Second day

On the second day of the photo shoot, Maria prepared a delicate makeup herself. This was not a problem because we only planned to take photos to post on Instagram – more like ordinary photo snapping than a typical session. Due to her preferences regarding clothing, or rather its frequent lack, Maria has long had a ban on Instagram (so her hashtags don’t work). However, she still regularly posts something – just in clothes or with censorship.

At first, I wanted to take more test shots so that I also had something to post on the blog.

Nikon D810 | 135 mm | F/7.1 | 1/200 | ISO 250

On all the photos from this series, the only source of light was a speedlight (YongNuo YN 560 IV) with a white umbrella, plus a gentle im light. Behind, a black folding background 200 x 150 cm, the same as in previous photos and in 95% of my studio sessions, except this time not lit by any additional lamp.

Nikon D810 | 135 mm | F/7.1 | 1/200 | ISO 250

Nikon D810 | 135 mm | F/7.1 | 1/200 | ISO 250

From this photo shoot, there was a few-minute live on Instagram, with the same frame as in the previous recording from the sports camera – they where mounted in the same place, just on a different day:

After various other shots, just before sunset, we went out to the balcony. The sunset was happening and with each photo, there was less light outside, so the flash-to-ambient-light ratio is different in each photo:

Nikon D810 | 50 mm | F/3.5 | 1/50 | ISO 640

Nikon D810 | 50 mm | F/3.5 | 1/50 | ISO 1000

The same thing in color:

Maria Klepchenko naked


Maria Klepchenko topless

This was created so that the palm trees outside finally served a purpose. For several years, I have been telling myself that this is where I will eventually do a photo shoot outside, and I think I have even promised it on the blog before. Maybe next year?

A few additional shots

Mortal Kombat Playstation 4

The end

Photos, commercials, posing at workshops, etc. – Maria does a lot of this, but she has always stayed away from fashion shows and a lot of typical fashion stuff. You need to be tall for that, but her time has been filled with posing for various photo shoots. Thailand, with its island views, is quite a popular place for such things because, in addition to its enormous diversity, it is much more affordable than, for example, Singapore.