The idea behind this shoot was based on several youtube videos and DVDs I have watched over the last few years. They were all about using just the minimum amount if equipment to get the best result. As several of the last work shops have had quiet complicated lighting set ups I thought it would be great to use just 1 Bowens flash and 1 or 2 reflectors. Although I limited the number light sources I didn't want to limit the light modifiers, this way we could create totally different looks easily e.g. Hard light vs Soft light, Direct light vs indirect light or Large light source vs Small light source.
It was a long night.... With 4 models and 5 lighting setups we ended up shooting for about 6 1/2 hours. So thanks every one for putting in such a great effort. We started of with a large Octobox behind the models and 2 reflectors in-front, we shot from a position between the reflectors. This achieved a strong back lighting and the reflectors threw enough light into the faces that the models weren't just a silhouette. This lighting design can deliver great results but you need to keep the "Inverse square law" in the back of your head. The next few set ups were variations of 1 softbox and 1 or 2 reflector. The last set up was 1 large parabolic dish set up opposite a sofa.
I also deliberately used different depth of field for each set up this way each lighting construction had a totally different feel to it. To add to the different feel we shot different poses head shoulders, 2/3 body , full body and sitting. Everyone had a great evening which makes me happy, as I put a lot of time and effort into organising the Friday night shoots. I have at least 5 or 6 more one flash set ups floating around in my head so there may be a "Creative Minimalism 2.0" latter this year.
Unfortunately our in house video production crew (2dudes) were busy and couldnt make it to the shoot ..... But thanks to M-Arx and Thorsten, they shoot some "making of" footage during the night so that the 2 dudes had something to edit.
This time the Friday night shoot theme was based around fashion magazines like GQ. To achieve this high fashion looks we had 2 models "sandra" and "lars" (Some of you my recognise Sandra from my rocker girl shoot). Speaking very generally mens' fashion mags tend to use a lot harder light source them womens' magazines. There for we limited the the lights sources to beauty dishes, large parabolic umbrellas and a ring flash.
One thing i noticed very early in the shoot is that a 2m umbrella can (that we were using as a fill flash), was putting out way to much light although it was set to minimum power. My mistake was that the silver umbrella was so large and so close to the subject, that it was acting as a reflector for the key light. After a slight bit of repositioning the problem was solved.
For a lot of the solo photos of Lars we only used a beauty dish with a honeycomb grid. That extra hard light works wonders on is chiseled cheek bones and jaw line. Maybe we should have added a hair light for a bit of separation, but at the time the results were looking good.
and if its finished in time...... the world famous making of video
Shooting with flash is a bit different to shooting with out flash. The key part of determining any flash exposure is the lens’ aperture, the camera ISO, and the power out put of your flash. The exposure happens when the flash fires and your shutter needs to be open for the duration of the flash.
The duration of the flash from electronic flash units is quite short, about 1/1000th of a second or even faster is not uncommon. The exposure is made while the shutter is open, and the flash fires. Your cameras shutter speed will be slower that the flashes there for you freeze that moment in time. In short the shutter opens, the flash fires, and the shutter closes. The amount of light that get through to your chip (or film) is determined by the power of the flash and the F/ (aperture) used. Finally the ISO settings of your camera will determine how much of that light it keeps or can use.
If you are shooting at a higher shutter speed than your camera can synchronise at you will only get part of the picture. What part is missing depends on which way the shutter travels and how much you get is determined by the shutter speed you selected. If your shutter speed is set way to fast you will only get a black frame, if your sync speed is set only slightly to fast you will get a black stripe on the side of your photo. Modern DSLR cameras have maximum synchronization speed that varies with each camera so please look at your cameras hand book to find out the maximum sync speed (or X speed)
There are several different affects you can achieve by adjusting your sync speed. Lower shutter speeds allow more of the ambient light to influence overall exposure, mostly the background (because the aperture you select determines the main subject’s exposure). Using a slow shutter speed can "open up" the background allowing more ambient light to affect the exposure and show more separation between subject and background.
But be aware that the colour temperature of any artificial lights in the ambient light. Depending on how bright they may be, using slower shutter speeds can add unwanted colour that may pollute skin tones in your shot. The solution: Increase shutter speed but not too much. On the other hand, warmer light sources can add pleasant warmth to the photographs.
A faster exposure speed will generally result in a sharper image due to less movement during the exposure. It will also isolate the subject more from any back ground as less ambient light will be captured in the exposure.
1. A Broad vs Narrow light source
The broader the light source is the softer the light will be. The narrower the source is the harder the light will be. A broad light source lessens shadows, reduces contrast, suppresses texture. A narrow light source does the opposite. This is because, with a broad source, light rays hit your subject from more directions, which tends to fill in shadows and give more even “Softer” illumination to the scene.
2. A Close vs Distant light source
The closer the light source is the softer the light will be. The farther the source is the harder the light will be. As you move a light closer, you make it bigger (that is, broader) in relation to your subject. Move it farther away, and you make it relatively smaller and therefore narrower.
Diffusion scatters light, basically making the light source broader and therefore softer. On overcast or foggy days, the entire sky, in effect, becomes a single very broad light source—nature’s softbox. Materials such as translucent plastic or white fabric can be used to diffuse a harsh light source. You can place a diffuser in front of an artificial light, such as a strobe. Or, if you're in bright sun, use a light tent or white scrim to soften the light falling on your subject.
4. Bouncing light
Bouncing light acts like diffusion. Aim a narrow light source at a broad, matte surface (such as a wall, ceiling, or matte reflector) and it not only reflects the light but also diffuses it by scattering it over a wider area. If you use a shiny reflector, though, and the light will stay fairly narrow on the bounce. The most extreme type of shiny reflector is a mirror it will keep the light focused pretty much as narrowly in the refection. Bouncing like off coloured surfaces may change the colour balance/temperature of your image.
5. The inverse Square law
The inverse Square law (in relation to photography) states “The farther the light source, the more it falls off” i.e. your subject will be dimmer. The rule says that light falls off as the square of the distance. That sounds complicated, but isn’t really. If you move a light twice as far from your subject, you end up with only one-quarter of the light on the subject.
In other words, light gets dim fast when you move it away. Also remember that bouncing light (even into a shiny reflector) adds to the distance it travels
You can use your lights to vary the relationship between your subject and your background. If you place a light close to your subject, the falloff from the subject to the background will be more pronounced. Move the light farther from your subject, and the background will be relatively brighter, as more light spills over from the subject to the background.
The same is true for side lighting. With a light close to the side of your subject, the falloff of light across the frame will be more pronounced than if the light is farther away.
7. Frontal lighting
Front lighting will de-emphasises texture. Lighting from the side, above, or below will emphasises it. A portrait photographer may want to keep the light source close to the axis of the lens to suppress skin wrinkles, while a landscape photographer may want side lighting to emphasise the texture of rocks, sand, and foliage. Generally, the larger the angle at which the light is positioned to the subject, the more texture is revealed.
Shadows create volume and depth to in image. Lighting from the side, above, or below, by casting deeper and longer shadows, creates the sense of volume. Still-life, product, and landscape photographers use angular lighting for this reason. Position a light high above and slightly to the side of your subject, angled down, but not so much that the shadow of the nose falls more than midway down the upper lip.
9. Back light
Backlighting can be used as a highly diffused light source. A person with his back to a bright window will have light reflected from an opposite wall falling on them. Someone standing outside with their back to bright sunlight will have light falling on them from the open sky in front of them. If you use a bright light source as your back light and reflect the fall off back onto your subject you will deemphasize facial texture.
Light has colour, even though it my look “white”. This is called colour temperature, and our brain is very good at adjusting our perception so that we hardly notice it. Digital and film cameras, may record colour casts that our eyes didn’t see. The colour of early morning and late afternoon sunlight is warm in tone, while open shade at midday can be quite bluish. Tungsten light bulbs cast very yellow light. And any surface that light bounces off can add its colour. With digital cameras, you can change the white-balance; to neutralise colour casts or to emphasise them e.g. add a warmer tone to a landscape or portrait.
Putting these tips into practice
Once you have used studio lighting a few times these tips will start to make a lot more scene. For example one of the things that a lot of people don't realise the first time they are in the studio is .....
The Studio flash normally has 2 lamps in it, one modelling lamp, and one strobe. These lamps may have different colour temperatures. As you set up your lighting the modelling lamps will show you the falloff, you will see your shadows, and get an idea how hard or soft your light is. But when you fire the strobes they may have a different colour temperature to what you saw when setting your lighting. If your photos have a strange colour cast it may be that you set your camera to “Auto White Balance” (AWB). Your camera measured the white balance of the modelling light which is a much warmer light than the strobe.