First test with studio strobes for on-location work
/forum/topic/1171237/0

1
       2       end

russdenney01
Registered: Oct 13, 2010
Total Posts: 816
Country: United States

I am preparing for a full scale on-location portrait shoot with my 15 year old daughter in the coming weeks. It will be somewhat typical -- pretty girl, elegant dress, beautiful jewelry (thanks to a friend who manages an upscale jewelry store), and a nice location, etc...

The first step in this process since this will be my first go around of this sort, is some practice runs with the lighting. We had our first practice session this weekend in a drab office location but the idea was to worry about lighting the subject and not the location so much...

We ended up having some equipment limitations as one of our photographers didn't show up with his gear. We ended being forced to use two lights. For this shot, it was only an Einstein for a main fired through a 47" octa and reflector only for fill. The background was not interesting so we killed the ambient...

If we had another light, we would have gridded it and put it up and behind her for a hair light...

Here is one of the shots...feedback and suggestions requested...Again, I am just looking for lighting suggestions as these were test shots.

Thank you.

Russ



friscoron
Registered: Oct 07, 2009
Total Posts: 5283
Country: United States


I think you did a nice job here. Instead of putting her hair down on the camera right side, I would have put it down on the opposite side so the main light could have lit it nicely.

Looking at the catchlights in the model's left eye, did you have the SB-900 shooting from the ground, or a low position? Curious about your decision on that.



russdenney01
Registered: Oct 13, 2010
Total Posts: 816
Country: United States

Thanks Ron.

I believe I was mistaken in my description of how the shot was taken. We did use the SB-900 as a fill on some of the shots...this one was a circular reflector placed a little low and camera right...(I corrected my comment above)

As far as lighting the side with her hair down, wouldn't you get shadows on her face from he hair being in front of the main?



Bruce Sawle
Registered: Sep 26, 2006
Total Posts: 4169
Country: United States

Not a bad first attempt.  Exposure looks good.  A couple things I might of done differently.  First I would of used the reflector with out the sb-900 for fill set the reflector up close and let your main light reflect off the reflector back into her face.  Second I would of used the SB 900 for a background light to help created separation from the back ground.  As far a lighting one side or the other this comes down to preference and the shape of the face short for defining a more rounded face and broad for narrow.  Here is a quick unedited example example main on left reflector on right with a background light.  Both the main and reflector were in tight.




russdenney01
Registered: Oct 13, 2010
Total Posts: 816
Country: United States

Looks good Bruce. Thanks.

She was standing in an open space...we did not have a backdrop to light and the space behind her was ugly...didn't want to use it.

Your suggestions are still good though...the reflector in your shot did a nice job for fill. Good separation with the back light...



Bruce Sawle
Registered: Sep 26, 2006
Total Posts: 4169
Country: United States

russdenney01 wrote:
Looks good Bruce. Thanks.

She was standing in an open space...we did not have a backdrop to light and the space behind her was ugly...didn't want to use it.

Your suggestions are still good though...the reflector in your shot did a nice job for fill. Good separation with the back light...


Very nice considering the circumstances. You really were able to kill the background. Looks as if it was shot against a black seemless indoors.



friscoron
Registered: Oct 07, 2009
Total Posts: 5283
Country: United States

russdenney01 wrote:
Thanks Ron.

I believe I was mistaken in my description of how the shot was taken. We did use the SB-900 as a fill on some of the shots...this one was a circular reflector placed a little low and camera right...

As far as lighting the side with her hair down, wouldn't you get shadows on her face from he hair being in front of the main?


Nope. Bruce's example is perfect for this question. You can see the main light on the same side as the hair being down (our left, model's right), but there is only one small shadow down on the chest. Of course, if you changed the pose, then shadows can come into play. But you can see how that main light really does a nice job of highlighting the model's hair.

You're pretty much there, just a couple tweaks. Can't wait to see the results from your shoot.



russdenney01
Registered: Oct 13, 2010
Total Posts: 816
Country: United States

Thanks. We're looking forward to the shoot...I just hope I don't mess up the opportunity.

This is something I have wanted to do for a while...now I've finally got a location pinned down and a nice opportunity to get the daughter some jewelry that we wouldn't ordinarily have access to (even if it is loaner merchandise)...



honorerdieu
Registered: Jul 08, 2003
Total Posts: 1170
Country: United States

russdenney01 wrote:
I am preparing for a full scale on-location portrait shoot with my 15 year old daughter in the coming weeks. It will be somewhat typical -- pretty girl, elegant dress, beautiful jewelry (thanks to a friend who manages an upscale jewelry store), and a nice location, etc...

The first step in this process since this will be my first go around of this sort, is some practice runs with the lighting. We had our first practice session this weekend in a drab office location but the idea was to worry about lighting the subject and not the location so much...

We ended up having some equipment limitations as one of our photographers didn't show up with his gear. We ended being force to use two lights - an Einstein for a main fired through a 47" octa and an SB-900 fired through a 40" shoot through umbrella. The background was not interesting so we killed the ambient...

If we had another light, we would have gridded it and put it up and behind her for a hair light...

Here is one of the shots...feedback and suggestions requested...Again, I am just looking for lighting suggestions as these were test shots.

Thank you.

Russ


Just a couple of points:

1. If you want to kill the background completely, you'll also have move further away to avoid the light spilling onto the background. It depends on which light modifier you use (the more directional the light modifier, the more you can control the spill).

2. This is just a matter of personal opinion, but I'm a fan of having light and shadows to help define shape.

Since this was your first studio shot, you did pretty well.



russdenney01
Registered: Oct 13, 2010
Total Posts: 816
Country: United States

Thank you.

We will not want to kill the background when we get on location...defeats the purpose of finding a nice setting to shoot at.

The octabox we were shooting with had a grid on it to help with the spill...

To your point, it will be nice to have that control if we need it.



Poff Photo
Registered: Apr 26, 2012
Total Posts: 213
Country: United States

Nice work, Russ! I always love to see the amount of detail a little oblique lighting brings out! I think there might even be a stray hair stuck to the front of her top? The low/right fill works for me - softened shadows and defined edges very nicely... I think a gridded light high/right behind her, to catch that shoulder outline and lighten the hair in that little triangle of darkness, would have been just about perfect... And like you said, you were only working with two lights... Since jewelry is a key point here - looking at the neckline and earlobe(s) - I think you have your lighting angles just about perfect...



russdenney01
Registered: Oct 13, 2010
Total Posts: 816
Country: United States

You weren't supposed to notice that stray hair

Thank you for the feedback.



Poff Photo
Registered: Apr 26, 2012
Total Posts: 213
Country: United States

Sorry! Long-time wedding shooter - I have tuned my senses to detect every loose thread, uneven pendant, crooked tie, and rotated engagement ring... You are welcome! I hope you plan on posting some of the finished product!



russdenney01
Registered: Oct 13, 2010
Total Posts: 816
Country: United States

I do have another question for you all...

When we did this shot, we experimented with using both a umbrella speed light and just a reflector for fill. The shot you see was with the reflector.

It seems like the lighting using flash for main and for fill was more flat even though the fill was a couple of stops darker. Do you find you get more pleasing face shape/shadows using a reflector for fill than a flash?



friscoron
Registered: Oct 07, 2009
Total Posts: 5283
Country: United States

Everyone does things differently. One person does a great job using a reflector for fill, another does a great job using another light for fill. You simply have to find what works best for you. One of the reasons your shot here looks a bit flat is because it's such a 2D shot in terms of the lack of a background. There's just black there, so no real depth. I'm not saying a black background does not work, surely it does. But I think you'll find that this shot will be much more effective with the ambient light in the background as you're planning.

If I have one suggestion for you, it's not to over-plan for this thing. Go there, feel it out, experiment and when you think you've got it right, try something completely different. And most importantly, have fun.



russdenney01
Registered: Oct 13, 2010
Total Posts: 816
Country: United States

Thanks Ron.

It's hard not to stress out. I really want to get this right...something I have wanted to do for a while.

I have a lot of time and effort in getting this arranged...hope it's for the best.



russdenney01
Registered: Oct 13, 2010
Total Posts: 816
Country: United States

Well, here I am post-shoot and let me tell you it was challenging!!!

We were shooting in VERY, VERY low light (read dimly lit room with fireplace and Christmas tree)...

I ended up going with speedlights...studio strobes were too much to haul around...

I didn't get a whole light I liked, but here are a few of my favs...

Thanks again for everyone's input...I'm definitely going to give this another go...

Russ



dhp_sf
Registered: May 30, 2012
Total Posts: 1187
Country: United States

I think these came out nice--the white balance looks a bit on the warm side to me. Could be my screen.



matt1116
Registered: Jul 28, 2006
Total Posts: 154
Country: Canada

These photos you have posted are very nice. The warm colours work well here.



GraceNFaith
Registered: Jun 22, 2012
Total Posts: 69
Country: United States

Nicely done Russ. Images look warm and elegant.



1
       2       end