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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Big Lights with Tiny Strobes

That MasterCard slogan has been permanently etched in my mind, you know, "There are things in life that money just can't buy. But for everything else, there's MasterCard." I find an analogy of it with lighting that would go like tnis --> "There are lighting situations when only big lights will do. But for everything else, small strobes will definitely do."

However, it's true. Sometimes a big light is what you really need to illuminate, say, a full body shot. 1 strobe and an umbrella is usually all I need to light a head shot - even a half body shot.  But a full body shot, especially that of a leggy model, will require to light up those lean long legs as well. Otherwise, what's the point of her showing off those legs if they're gonna be in the dark?

With the strobe/umbrella setup positioned head high, light does not reach those legs brightly enough. One solution would be to lower the position of the light but that would mean lighting her face from below, which I don't want. This is one of those situations where I wished I had a big light with a full-body high soft box. But I didn't.

One light                   Two Lights

Fortunately, there is a plain white wall right where we are shooting. I just added another strobe down below and bounced its light onto the white wall. I would have used another umbrella but I only had one that day.  Compare the two photos above.  The one on the left was lit with a single strobe with umbrella.  The one on the right - the same light plus another one bounced off the white wall from a lower position.  This light setup effectively duplicates a big, full height soft box.  The highlights on her legs caused by the second light (see main photo on top and the one above right), defined her long legs.

For a better understanding of what I'm describing, above is a photo of the lighting setup I used.


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