Location Fashion Shoot

Discussion in 'Lighting Tutorials' started by MichaelSewell, May 1, 2016.

  1. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    Location_012 copy.jpg

    This particular shoot was for a number of clients for a combined magazine advertorial, including an outdoor clothing company. The day wasn’t particularly the best from a weather point of view, but none the less, once organised, we had to get something, come what may!

    There was a very fine drizzle at this point, and we needed to act quickly. My first concern was the poor light due to the overcast sky. Whilst I do like a mean and moody look to a lot of my outdoor images, I had to bear in mind it would be far too easy to overcook this one due to the poor available light, and I could quite possibly take too much attention from the main subject.

    The first thing to do was to find where my starting point is and because I'm basically lazy, a quick shot of the scene in program mode at ISO200 reveals 1/250th sec at f5.6 which is dim indeed. I was more than happy with the shutter speed at 1/125th and the ISO at 200, but I would use an aperture of f10, therefore under exposing the scene by two-thirds of a stop, which would be just enough to retain texture within the cloud formations, without darkening off the visible landscape too much. (1/250th and f5.6 is the same exposure value as 1/125th and f8 at the same ISO).

    Once I had my starting point, I was able to decide how best to light our subject, and how I would allow the light to impact on the immediate vicinity around the pair. Originally, I had expected to need additional lighting for the background grass and bushes, but due to only allowing a drop of two-thirds in the ambient lighting, I felt I could restrict the lighting to the subjects, and allow any spill to add some definition, but not overly so.

    I had a folding 120cm Octa to my right, approximately seven feet high and coupled to a 400Ws location head, providing the key light. A second 200Ws head was mated to a 70x100cm folding softbox off to my left, but slightly behind the model. This was to provide the accent light you can see on his right cheek and arm etc, and quite importantly, along the length of the shotgun. You will also note that this head provides the all-important texture and form to the dog at the model's feet. Output for each head was set at 1/2 power.

    Budget Version:

    Due to the low power output of the heads, you could easily swap them for speedlights. If you were to use the same camera settings, the accent light on the left of the frame would need to be at full power. The key light would need to be replaced with two speedlights firing at full power.

    You can get around the need for the third speedlight if you up the ISO to 400, increase the shutter speed to 1/250th sec. The accent light can be reduced to half power, and the key light could then be one speedlight firing at full power.

    I'm assuming use of the same modifiers.

    1/125thsec ISO200 f10
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2016
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  2. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    This one is an interesting study... when I first looked there was something strange about it. Upon reflection, I think it has something to do with the shadows, or rather the apparent lack of shadows that you'd expect to be cast by dog and the guy upon the ground. Any insights?
  3. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    Hi @wjiang@wjiang

    Very straightforward. The lighting setup is almost a crosslight, with the key light (frame right) almost facing the accent light (frame left).
    You will notice the grass is visibly darker to the left of the dog, but not as dark as you perhaps expected. This is due to the accent light cancelling the shadow (well, almost), and again in the other direction to the right of the model, although due to the height of the head, and the fact the Octa was angled down toward the model (I recall setting it to aim centrally at his waist), the light is able to fill the shadow to a better extent. The accent light was much lower to ensure I had good coverage of the dog. This also meant it was nearer the ground and would not penetrate the grass as well as the key light. The skimming, of course, causes some shadowing, and therefore leaves more of the shadow from the key light.

    When placing lights, I try to incorporate how the shadows will fall, and therefore attempt to provide some fill to reduce the impact on the image if it isn't desired.
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