Little Adventures

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

An All Red Affair

The ability to solve problems on the spot will help you go through difficult photoshoot sets.  At this early stage of this blog it is probably worth mentioning that we did not worked in a fully equipped studio and we only had Canon Speedlite.  We did the photoshoot in a private residence, in a rearranged living room just to get enough plain background wall, and our lighting was nothing but Canon Speedlites with various modifiers.

"Pure Red' by alexdpx

At first look, not many will see the potential of Jun's living room.  It was full of items and displays added throughout his long stay here in Doha.  It's not a cluttered room, but photographically, there's too much clutter in there to be useful for a formal portrait photoshoot.  But I saw the potential of the red upholstered sofa set and the red Egyptian carpet.  Incidentally, Jelly brought with her a nice red dress, so naturally, my first thought was to do an all red theme.

Based on experience, shooting a monochromatic theme usually demands some creative lighting setup or the pictures will look flat as various elements disappear in a pallette with a single color.  You need to create separations between elements.  For this reason, I eliminated flood lighting and opted for "pools of light" for a more precise lighting design.  As I have mentioned in an earlier article, equally important to what you are lighting, is what you are NOT lighting.

I had a Speedlite 580EX II with a Honl Speed Snoot mounted overhead with a light stand, positioned to camera right and then pointed down on the model sitting on the red lounge chair.  This would be my key lighting.  For hair and rim lighting, I had another 580EX II to the rear left of the model with a Lumiquest mini-soft box, not so far but close enough to produce an acceptably soft light.  And then I had a 430EX II with a red gel and a Stofen Omni-bounce behind the chair to "paint" the off-white wall red.  To bring out some details out of her legs, I positioned another 430EX II, set to a very low power (1/64 if I remember it right) with a shoot thru umbrella on the floor.  In total, there were 4 lights doing different things but complimenting each other to produce these results.
The lighting setup - 4 speedlites doing different things but complimenting each other.  Photo by Jun Cerna.
For the photos with the blue veil, the same setup was used except that the red gel on the 430EX II behind the chair was replaced with blue.

"The Blue Veil" by alexdpx

We also did some shots in the guest bedroom that Jun has converted to a mini-studio.  We aimed a Speedlite set to 105mm zoom and fitted with a red gel on the black background behind the model.  Hair and rim light behind the model to camera right.  Key light with shoot-thru umbrella at camera left pointed down to the model.  Silver reflector used and positioned below the key light.  To summarize, a 3-lights setup.

"Plain and Simple" by alexdpx

See also Lighting Adventures for a bigger and better view of the photos.

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