A deep Behind the Scenes look into my Oliphant studio shoot.

For a deeper look, join the Lighting Challenge group on Facebook. Link at bottom.

Let me take you through the entire process of how the shoot was done and how everything came together:

I have known the good people at Oliphant since my days as an intern and assistant at Annie Leibovitz, and we’d talked often about me doing a ‘proper’ shoot of them, not just snaps or instagram posts. But there had never been a good reason, much less a budget.

So when european photographer Gabriel Hill approached me about doing a story on Oliphant with a photo magazine and asked if I could do the shoot, I immediately said YES! In fact, I think Sarah had even turned him onto me also, to ask if I could please do the shoot.

We talked it back and forth and luckily Gabriel agreed to give me full creative control.

We scheduled a date with Oliphant, I arranged all the equipment and went into the studio a couple of times to get an idea of what and how I’d shoot them. It took an inordinate amount of time just to pick backdrops that would all work together.

Originally we had thought of getting each member of staff to pick their favourite backdrop, which turned into a bit of a mess and was surely going to result in a shoot that didn’t feel complete as a body of work. It would have been a messy mishmash of styles.


Sarah Oliphant graciously gave us access to the studio the night before and we did light tests, so many light tests. I recruited my friend Ryan and assistants Alex and Matt to help stand in and we tried various combinations and built the set, tried the lighting, etc.

This actually came before the shot of Sarah. This shot of Violet was really Violet’s set. It was AFTER this that I grabbed Sarah again and shot her on the same set. We did a bunch of her and she asked if she could get a shot with me. I guess that’s one way of getting her comfortable

IMG_9826 by Felix Kunze


Light testing for the shot of Mun, I often use myself as the test subject because I know what I’m gonna look like, I’m the one thing that’s always consistent. So many people’s skin reads differently but I know what mine will feel like.

A Large deep dish Elinchrom Rotalux on the right will have been to provide a base layer of light, the one nearest to Mun is the same modifier in medium, to provide pop and definition to her face.

Working with animals in the same shoot, always fun! It took a lot of coercing to get Strider just to sit still for one minute. Luckily he loves Sarah.

some shots as Sarah and Violet create their magic. 

Just a small part of the rental stock.

The Lighting Challenge with Felix Kunze Facebook Group

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  1. Vincent Vallejo reply

    Thanks for the write up! Would love to get a breakdown of the post production side of your work. I’m new to your site and love it. Do you breakdown your editing process as well?



  2. Erin O'Connor reply

    Looks like so much fun. Would love to watch them create. Something tells me it would be cathartic and meditative to see such beauty manifest. I’m no where near where I want to be with my work and I know it will take time so this is wonderful inspiration to keep going.. Thanks for sharing, Felix. Incredible images.

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