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Mock Broncolor Para shoot (how to fake it)
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Mock Broncolor Para shoot (how to fake it)

For many techies the Broncolor Para reflectors are about the ultimate for studio photography
The ability to evenly light a model from top to toe with a more contrasty look then a similar 6 or 7 feet softbox will give is a mouth watering idea for many fashion photographers

Downside of course is the major pricetag, over here in the Netherlands a Para 222 will set you back around Eor 6,500 ex VAT, in addition to that you'll need a extra sturdy lightstand to handle the weight, and obviously a strong flash as well. And there also is the consideration how often you will use that set up

There are large (7 feet) umbrella's around (from the expensive Profoto and Westlite, to cheapo Chinese ones), but due to the weight the full length of the central "mounting' rod can't be used due to flexing, and effectively forcing to use only the central part of the umbrella, which of course counters the 'top to toe' lit effect looked for

Yet, although I consider myself more of an 'outside location' fashion shooter, I wanted to try my hand at a similar set up to be prepared for the occasion when I would be requested to do a shoot in this fashion.

So I got a cheapo Chinese 7 feet umbrella for Eur 39,95 :P , and as an equally cheap mounting solution used an old lightstand/boom I have had lying around for years (basically a bad purchase, being a low cost one, the boom arm proved too weak to safely carry the weight of e.g. a 3,5 k Bowens Gemini).

Set up is simple
I mount the Gemini (with a standard 'wide' reflector which also has an umbrella adapter) on the lightstand in the standard way, then put the boom (shortened to about 80cm or so) in a horizontal position (or tilted depending of the position I will/want to put the flash in eventually)
At the end of the boom, I mount an very basic lightstand/umbrella adapter (like the one eg for using an umbrella with a speedlight on a lightstand)

I put first put the central 'mounting' rod through the hole of the umbrella adapter, and then put it through as far as possible needed to connect to the Gemini's reflector.
Since the central 'mounting' rod (and the weight of the umbrella) is already supported by the umbrella adapter at the end of the boom, I don't have to put it in too far in the Bowens umbrella adapter. While at the same time, the boom arm functions as a support for the umbrella, and counters any possible flexing/bending of the 'mounting' rod

Of course I can't imitate the Para's option to focus the light by putting the flash closer to the umbrella, and likewise a simple umbrella will splash the light around a bit more then a Para's 'deep' reflector
But for an evenly 'lit from top to toe' effect on a Para the flash will be in the furthest position away from the reflector anyway, much like my set up

The cheapo solution works out like this

Edited on Apr 28, 2017 at 08:34 PM · View previous versions

Apr 27, 2017 at 12:18 PM
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Mock Broncolor Para shoot (how to fake it)

nice setup and results -- any photos of the actual setup?

Apr 28, 2017 at 08:18 PM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Mock Broncolor Para shoot (how to fake it)

bgateb760 wrote:
nice setup and results -- any photos of the actual setup?

Actually was really simple

To really get the impression of movement, rather then just a little bounce for the picture, the model ran 5 steps/leaps across the studio from right to left, and tried to be more or less in the middle with the 3rd step/leap
The wider light spread of (in particular) this mock Para set up (although I have the impression that with an original Para at the widest setting a similar effect can be achieved) allowed to evenly lighten such a wide area

For completeness sake I have to mention that for this shoot I used two lightsources/7 feet umbrella's, a silver one from the left as main, and a reflected white one from the right as fill
Unfortunately the studio wasn't wide enough te be able to really place them wider apart and create a more contrasty effect, and I was forced to position them almost next to my shooting position

In hindsight I also, rather then is now the case with the silver one as the main on the left and the white one on the right as fill, might have better used the white umbrella as the mainlight (from the left) at a higher power setting with the silver one as a lower powered fill on the right
Probably would have worked out better as far as the lighting on the face was concerned (I now have make some corrections with dodging and burning - no layering or cloning - on the shadows and creases in postprocess)

Apr 28, 2017 at 08:37 PM

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