All in all the shoot came together really well and my client couldn’t be happier. Bringing your client’s concepts to life doesn't have to be complicated or onerous. The key is good communication, a clear idea of what you’re trying to accomplish going in, and a simple, effective lighting plan. My advice is always to keep it uncomplicated and creative. Keep your eyes and ears open and always think about what you’re not seeing. The final you’re seeing here isn’t where I started out during this shoot. It’s easy to miss something potentially great when you’re in the shooting bubble. In my experience, the strongest image may not be the one you’re shooting but something still unseen and undiscovered. Stop, look around, reframe. You’ll be surprised at the hidden gems just waiting for you!
Readers of this column know that I’m a big booster for the use of handheld light meters. I use them daily in my own photography and recommend them to every photographer interested in better lighting. In fact, if you want to take your lighting to the next level in addition to taking your light off your camera, learning to use a handheld light meter is the next best step you can take in that direction. I know what you’re thinking! “My camera already has a built-in light meter. Why do I need another meter, another expense, and another tool to worry about?” Those are each great questions.
In today's age of high dynamic range cameras and increased knowledge of post-production software, photographers are beginning to rely less and less on the fundamentals of lighting. I can tell you firsthand that our studio built a foundation of its success on the ability to use creative light in any situation. Lighting, in my opinion, is the first thing that we should learn as professional photographers. Lighting will dictate the location that you shoot in as well as the overall style that you are trying to achieve.
Choosing the right strobe for your needs is not only a question of budget but how you intend to use the strobe. The criteria and features desirable for studio strobes differ from those designed for location use, and vice versa. That said, strobes designed for location use can be used in the studio, and studio strobes can in some cases be used on location. So, if you can only budget for one type of strobe, don’t worry. Keep in mind that every strobe involves a series of compromises, and there is no one strobe that does everything and does it well. That’s why there are portable strobes designed for location work and larger, more powerful strobes intended for studio work. Each has its pluses, minuses and place.
When it comes to crafting killer quality of light, it’s all about modifiers. These light-shaping tools come in a variety of shapes, sizes and interior finishes. When attached to the front of strobes, modifiers help control the quality, shape, direction, spread, and amount of contrast, as well as how quickly the light falls off. While some have more versatility than others, there is no one-size-fits-all modifier. Each has its own unique characteristics, and each produces a different set of results.
I love my strip boxes. My go-to's are the Profoto D2 line and the Profoto 1x6 RFI strip boxes with grids. I use these light modifiers for my maternity, fitness and boudoir clients, because of the control and impact they have when shaping light. You can use them to create gorgeous directional light that focuses on drama. And who doesn't enjoy an excellent dramatic photograph?
The main goal of my monthly lighting tutorials is to teach you how to think about light, show you how to effectively use lighting tools, arm you with knowledge you need to think on your feet, teach you how to solve the lighting problems you’re likely to encounter, and help you learn how to design lighting that can support a range of subject matter.
I loved the idea of an old school bus and using it as the backdrop for this high-fashion shoot. At first, I was thinking one light for something dark and dramatic. I love the juxtapose of it all. However, I quickly realized this shoot was not going to be so simple to pull off.
Learning where to place your key light and what angle to give it is easy using the six foundational lighting patterns photographers rely on for consistent results. These six simple, yet highly effective, lighting patterns are the go-to guide for an endless variety of predictable, repeatable lighting effects. In fact, one of these lighting patterns, Rembrandt Light, has been in practice since the master painter Rembrandt first used it.
At some point in our image-viewing lives, we’ve all been enamored with a photograph where gels and color were used to augment it. Whether this image has a small kicker accent of gelled lighting or is created entirely with it, we respond to that infusion of color—the image has a larger impact on the viewer. In many ways, the underlying story of a certain image can only be fully revealed through the use of color and gels.