May 2, 2017

Creating the Rise of the Machines Terminator Group Portrait

Terminator Portrait by Perth Photographer Brodie Butler

I started¬†shooting creative group portraits for Top Shelf Entertainment over 8 years ago now. I’ve been responsible for the imagery behind every single show they have ever done and the pressure is constantly on me to outdo myself. Most of that pressure probably comes from my own perfectionism and willingness to do great. ¬†Regardless though, from the initial feedback of¬†our¬†Perth Terminator photoshoot last week, I think it’s safe to say I have outdone myself again with this¬†Terminator inspired “Rise of the Machines” photoshoot! This one photo imparticular that has been retouched & manipulated a bit.

It certainly helps having a group of talented and rather fit subjects to all come together for the occasion. It also makes my life easier because I dont have to come up with the concepts and organise all the subjects and the props. The mastermind Leigh from Top Shelf Entertainment comes up with these often movie-inspired ideas, so they have been great to partner with all these years.

Read on for a full break down! Speed retouching video, before and after images and more!


Our location base was a rooftop carpark. We wanted something fairly plain to offer us a bit of a blank canvas, but textures and details like fencing was a perfect addition just to offer a bit of atmosphere in the shot. The original plan was to create a lot of smoke however being outdoors makes smoke VERY difficult to control and time consuming. A working powerpoint also eluded us so smoke had to be left to post production in Adobe Photoshop.

TIP: Be sure to get permission to shoot in places like carpark structures, because I guarantee you, they will kick you out if you dont ask!

This was a relatively simple shoot with four(4) lights. Let me break down the four.

1. The mainlight. This bad boy was powered by the Elinchrom Ranger RX Speed AS battery pack. Still holds up to be one of the best portable lighting solution on the market taking into account bang for buck and power. This main light wore a standard reflector and was placed as high as my manfrotto stand could go, about 10 feet I think. It was placed just right of the camera.

2. My second light was a Canon Speedlight 580EX II which wore a blue gel, and came in from Camera left. This light was designed to simulate the blue light eminating from the nudie man who had just transported back from the future. The flash lit up some of the bike too. Good work Luke, it was pretty cold.

3 & 4. The remaining two lights were also Canon Speedlights which were placed behind the subjects as a rim light, roughly on the 45 degree angles. This was important to separate my subjects from the background, and offers a much more edgey lighting solution for this effect.

Have a look at the setup I drew with my trusty whiteboard marker.




Approximately 75 minutes went into editing this image from start to finish and you can see the whole thing in a Speed Retouching video below. Please feel free to ask me questions. You can comment below, email me, or hit me up on Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat and use the hashtag #askbrodie.



This image started out very bland. I shot this knowing full well what it was going to require in photoshop. It’s a huge benefit being the retoucher because I know exactly what I can get away with in-camera. It’s also very important to know the limits of your camera and exactly what it will produce. Without this, my work wouldn’t end up anywhere near as good. You really need to see the high resolutions and prints to appreciate it. Good quality just doesnt get differentiated from rubbish quality on platforms like instagram and facebook these days.

Here you can see the original, and the transformation.



The version of this image you are going to see blown up somewhat lifesize at Sexpo Perth will look just like this one below. It will accompany two other older pieces of work of mine joining together to fulfil the concept they have planned of Past, Present & Future. Stay tuned for more!

TopShelf Entertainment by Perth photographer Brodie Butler

No photoshoot of mine is complete without at least one¬†silly behind the scenes photo. I am so proud of everyone in this photo! Everyone is on point, pure and silly. It’s always good to end things on a good note. Thanks for tuning in.




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