Exploring Light, Discovering Style: A Lighting Tutorial
Part 6, Lesson 3: Guide the Viewer's Eye
By Bruce Dorn | February 08, 2011
Concept: Use lighting to direct the eye and create emphasis within the frame.
Tools: Monolight+SoftBox+Speedlite+Strobe Slipper
Action: I was intrigued by the potential of creating a "long shot" in this location and that meant a bit of a lighting rethink would definitely be in order. I wanted to add a male figure to the set-up, but knew that the viewer's attention must continue to stay on the Bride. We started by removing the aforementioned Softbox and Boom Arm from the Slipper.
Once stripped of its tidy accessories, we carefully perched the now undiffused Speedlite on top of a nearby column. A quick test revealed that a Manual output setting of 1/32 power on the Speedlite worked quite well with the f-stop previously established to blow-out the texture of the background Softbox.
For this image, I wanted my supplemental lighting to feel a little "punchier" than the ambient level, so I raised my shutter speed a touch to subtly under-expose and darken the naturally-lit areas of the frame.
We really wanted the focus to be on the Bride, so I decided to let the gentleman in the foreground "make do" what little skylight spilled in through the stained-glass archways. This differential in intensity effectively put the "spotlight" on the Brynn and maintained her figure as the center of our attentions.
The final effect was enhanced by choosing a moderate telephoto lens. Longer focal-lengths allow a greater working distance and this more-distant camera position acts to compress perceived perspective, in effect "stacking up" the figures spatially. A somewhat shallow depth-of-field is an additional by-product of the longer lens selection and adds much to the effect.
If there had been room to use something even longer, I certainly would have tried my beloved 70-200mm f2.8 IS zoom. I find that being freed from the tripod by the effectiveness of well-designed Image Stabilization system makes me much more likely to explore a variety of image compositions.
Canon 1DS Mark II - f/5.6 @ 1/80 ISO 400
Canon 85mm f/1.2
Canon Speedlite on iDC Strobe Slipper
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