I have only worked with multiple models and candles a couple of times, and with mixed success - the small circle of illumination is difficult to work with when two models have to be lit, and while the intimacy it implies is welcome, if the subjects of the photographs are hidden in shadow, they have a much reduced impact.
For this session, I was very directly building on the successes
I'd had working previously with Miranda and Monique in April. That
session had yielded a number of very strong images (in spite of losing
more then half of the images to a tragic mistake), and made me rethink
the difficulties I had had previously with two models and the candle. I
think the root of the problem I had had was I was approaching it like a
standard couple session, trying to light the scene with the candle, as
opposed to building the image from the candle out. With the first
approach, I would have the models find a comfortable pose, and then
place the candle within it. The tactic I used for this session was the
reverse - I placed the candle on the backdrop, and then had the models
carefully move into the composition, adjusting their pose and position
as dictated by the light.
The impact this change in approach
made on the resulting images was surprising. For over an hour the two
model and I worked with the single candle, and successful image after
successful image emerged. I started working with both models back-on to
the candle, and making images of their buttocks lit by the light, but
swiftly shifted to other less structured images. By placing one model in
the foreground, in front of the candle, and the other model behind the
candle, I had a base of the image (the first model) and a focus to the
composition (the second model). I think the fundamental error I made in
the past was I saw the candle as just the light course, and not the
primary focus of the image.
As the last session in a busy day, the candle-light photos were a great success. The primary advantage of the session was that both models could relax and be relatively comfortable during the session (though the question was posed as to why it couldn't take place on the far more comfortable futon), and the results were very pleasing. Bobbi has specifically asked about working with the candle, so after I'd exhausted the possibilities of both models together with the candle, Miranda moved to the comfy futon, and Bobbi and I made a small series of images of her with the candle alone.