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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Against the Light

"Lady of the Woods" by alexdpx.  One Speedlite 580EX II behind the model. 

A great majority of photographers starting out with lighting will use one light, will have it positioned 45deg to either left or right of the camera horizontally facing the subject mounted at a certain height and 45deg pointing down to the subject.  In simple terms, a 45/45 setup or what is usually known as "the Rembrandt".  There is nothing wrong with this setup, in fact I have used it a hundred times and they always gave pleasant results.

But because it's formula, it is predictable.  And because it's predictable it has become . . . boring.  At some point, you will feel the urge to experiment.

"Ethereal" by alexdpx.  Speedlite 580EX II behind the model above head level.  Facing the camera directly without gobo, light entered directly throught the lens causing this flare.  Usually, we avoid flares but it works well for this shot.

Previously, all my lighting setups would involve an umbrella to soften light and shadows.  But then, why not hard light?  Instead of the soft and creamy, why not the hard and edgy look?  For this reason, I am temporarily doing away with soft boxes and umbrellas and would use snoots and speed grids.
On the photos featured here, I used mostly just one light in combination with ambient and / or sunlight.  The positions of the one light I was using was varied - on the side directly perpendicular to the direction of the lens, behind the model through trees . . . etc.  Lighting positioned in unconventional ways provide a different dimension to your pictures.  They are either more belieavable or "unbelievably" good.  Don't be afraid to experiment.




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