If you have looked around my portfolio you will see that I mainly shoot models one at a time, but occasionally I like the challenge of shooting a group. Last Sunday’s shoot was one such occasion.
I had met Stacey a couple of years ago and when she posted on Facebook that she wanted to update her profile and try a few things we met up and set up a time. She then recruited two friends to come along.
Now Stacey is very confident in front of the camera, her friend were not, and in fact Kari told me that she hated most pictures that were taken of her. That certainly presented a challenge but by the end of the evening I think I had not only risen to the challenge but had overcome it.
The shoot took place in a studio in Upper Hutt with the main lighting coming from my Westcott 7 foot parabolic umbrella. The more I use this light the more that I love it.
Last Sunday I had a studio booked for an art project I am working on so as I was going to have all my lighting gear set up decided that I would run a lighting workshop as well.
Over the course of 4 hours I took the photographers through seven different lighting arrangements using the lights and then finished utilising natural light. I had booked an experienced model for the event but she contacted me the night before to say that she was ill and not able to make it. So my daughter ended up stepping in to help and she did quite a good job.
I wanted to emphasise that lighting is an art and not a science and that the process of working with lights was to add them one at a time. I was mindful that not everyone can afford expensive studio lights so we started with arrangements that could be replicated with off camera flash using speed lights.
As I was instructing the others what to do I did not have time to shoot example images with each arrangement.
These are the seven arrangements that I demonstrated:
Using one light
One light with reflector (45degrees)
This is one of the simplest and most common lighting arrangement. A single light is set at a 45 degree angle to the subject and then a reflector is introduced on the other side at a similar angle to bounce some light into the shadows. In this and the next arrangement the main light was in a 1 meter softbox.
One light with reflector (rim)
This lighting arrangement is similar to the first however the main light is brought alongside the subject. This produces a must stronger ratio of the light between the two sides of the face.
This lighting involves a single light mounted above the camera aiming down at the subject and a reflector positioned below to fill in the shadows. The arrangement produces butterfly lighting with a shadow below the nose. For the clamshell the main light used a beauty dish.
Single Light Highkey
Normally when you think of highkey lighting you would think that it involves multiple lights. It can be produced with a single light and a couple of reflectors. In this case the single light is placed behind the subject and essentially becomes both the light and the backdrop.
In front of the subject two large white reflectors are placed and you shoot between them. The light is metered for the front of the subject resulting in a background blowing out.
For the shot ideally I would have liked to use my 1.5 meter October but I forgot to pack the adapter ring that allowed the Bowen mount to fit my Elinchrom lights so instead had to use a 1m softbox.
Two Light arrangements
Two light axis lighting
An axis lighting arrangement has the subject standing in the middle of two lights aimed on the same axis. I demonstrated two arrangements. In the first both lights have the same modifiers. In the second arrangement the rear modifier was fitted with a small honeycomb grid. In this case its was much more of a hair light.
The final arrangement show was what a referred to as “production lighting”. This is used when you wish to shoot a large number of subjects quickly and the aim is to have well lit rather than dramatic lighting on the subjects.
In this arrangement both lights are set to the same power.
As the studio we were using had large north facing windows at the end of session we simply used the window and reflector to produce images like this one, proving that you don’t need to spend much money at all.
Ashleigh-Jane Cole is a very talented young lady. Earlier this year she modelled for me at the waterfall and in the process made the length of fabric I was using into a dress. She won a designer award at the Trentham Racecourse Wellington Club and now in the process of recording her new album. Today she appeared live on a local radio station and performed all her own material, including one that she only finished just before going to air.
Yesterday she posted on Facebook and asked if any photographers were able to record the session for her. There is a major restructure going on at my paid work so the opportunity to take an afternoon off and do this was too much to resist. The studio is a fairly restricted place and so I knew that I could inly take the minimum about of gear and certainly no light stands. It gave me the perfect opportunity to test out the Rogue Flash Panel that my son bought me for my birthday & Christmas. It ended up being two presents because when the request went in we did not realise that it actually came in two pieces.
Despite there being little room to move around I was reasonably pleased with the results.