Highlighting Background Features

Discussion in 'Lighting Tutorials' started by MichaelSewell, May 8, 2016.

  1. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    WedFayre_225 copy.jpg

    I was looking for somewhere interesting for my bridal portrait session at Heskin Hall, and came across this wall. It was dark, in fact very dark, but had interesting alcoves that I have no idea as to what their intended use is. But for my bridal portrait, their use was pretty obvious.

    In each alcove, I stood a speedlight set to ¼ output and with a stofen type diffuser fitted. The stofen was only to make the speedlight act as a bare bulb, and therefore better fill the alcove. The first four alcoves were a piece of cake. The speedlights neatly stood upright on their radio trigger, leaning against the nearside wall, and therefore out of sight. The furthest alcove was more of a problem due to its size and height. I didn’t want the light to originate at the bottom of the alcove, as that would be at ground level, and it would fit in far better if illuminated from the top. Subconsciously, we expect light to come from above, so lighting from the ground may well have appeared strange, and unlikely to fill the whole alcove evenly.

    I managed to fit the speedlight to an extended monopod, and leant it against the wall, hidden from sight. This particular speedlight needed to be set at ½ power due to the larger alcove.

    The main or key light source for the bride was supplied by a Godox Witstro AD180, firing at ¼ through a custom folding 90cm Octa at head height and camera right.

    Budget Version:

    To be honest, the only thing to reduce the cost here would be to replace the Witstro with a speedlight, and set it to an output of 1/2. A Witstro AD180 is approximately twice the power, which equates to an extra stop or +1EV. You can pick up any amount of cheap speedlight softboxes on ebay etc, although the trick is finding one large enough. A softbox that allowed the speedlight to reverse fire into the box itself would have much better light dispersion than one requiring a speedlight to fire forward, due to the speedlight's built in reflector.
    Another option would be to use a shoot through umbrella, although you may need to go to full power due to light loss out the back.

    1/125th sec ISO200 f5.6
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2016
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  2. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
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