Exploring Light, Discovering Style: A Lighting Tutorial
Part 5, Lesson 2: Accommodate Action
By Bruce Dorn | February 04, 2011
Concept: Use handheld flash for highly-mobile subjects.
Tools: Two SoftBoxes+Speedlite+Strobe Slipper+Monolight
Action: Simply turning 180 degrees revealed another potential composition. I needed to include detail shots throughout the day, so I thought I would take this moment to document one of the elaborate hairstyles.
Even tight headshots will benefit from an interesting background, and this ornately-designed door was a convenient temptation. Leading only into a darkened room, the glass windows offered strong graphic lines but zero illumination.
A large softbox placed flush against the back of the door would easily emulate a "blown-out" exterior window, so we rigged one and equipped it with a radio-synchronized Monolight. That took care of the background while providing a nice hair light as a fringe benefit. Now we needed a foreground Key Light...
To subtly feature the floral arrangement in Brynn's hair, I decided to light the face in a manner that would nestle the dark blossoms in a long strip of shadow rendered by the direction of both the Hair Light and the Key Light.
This sort of decision is usually a recipe for a stiff pose, but I like my models to be able to move freely, however subtle or extreme that movement may become. I also required a light source with enough power adjustment to give me the precise stop I needed for adequate depth-of-field.
This task called for an "active" Key Light and the power of a hand-held Speedlite would easily suffice. The confines were quite tight, however, and there simply wasn't room for Brynn, myself, and Mighty Assistant Paul to occupy that one minuscule piece of real estate.
Quickly fitting a Small Softbox and Boom Arm to my Strobe Slipper solved the problem. We promptly tested the exposure and determined that setting the flash's Manual Mode to 1/6? power would delivered an f/5.6 through the softbox when the assembly was held a specific distance from the girl's face. With this information, the model could now move freely.
Mighty Paul handheld the rig high overhead and was charged with carefully-maintaining the appropriate light-to-subject distance as he followed Brynn's movements. She faked him out a few times, but the young lad remained diligent and proved victorious in the end...
Canon 1DS Mark II - f/5.6 @ 1/80 ISO 400
Canon 85mm f/1.2
Alien Bee B800 in Extra-Large Softbox
Canon Speedlite on iDC Strobe Slipper
Small Softbox and Boom Arm
Pocket Wizard Transmitter and Receivers
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