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Tight Spaces

Discussion in 'Lighting Tutorials' started by MichaelSewell, Dec 16, 2015.

  1. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    511
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    1.

    A close friend of mine is an educator for one of the largest UK based training companies within the hair salon industry. Rachel asked me to go along to a training event, where a new hair colouring system was to be launched. Take a few headshots, a few of the entertainment and training, and that’s it. Easy Peasy!

    Well, I've known Rachel a long time, and it’s rarely been exactly as planned. It’s always bigger and far more complicated :) And guess what?, this turned out to be no different. I arrived an hour early, just in case I needed a bit more time. Which of course turned out to mean I had no time at all! As I arrived, they were in the final throws of rehearsal, and Rachel wanted the head shots doing as soon as possible. No worries, just point me in the direction of the spare room you promised, and I’ll get on with it.

    Erm... what room?

    I was given a space five feet by five feet, with two deeply padded and multicoloured walls. Now, I could actually stand just outside the allocated five by five feet, because there was a rail that governed one side of my designated area, a table for the second barrier, and of course the two walls.

    Meh!

    Well, we work with what we’re given, and I was given a very interesting wall :)

    As usual, I had taken a shedload of lighting gear, ranging from 600Ws location heads, right through to the tiniest of miniature speedlights. The bigger lights were not really going to cut it here for a number of reasons. For a start, they would eat into my available space, and secondly, due to the minimal distance between light source and subject, I was going to need very little light anyway, and 600Ws was going to be a major overkill.

    For the background, I used a manual speedlight (Yongnuo YN560 II) at a ¼ output, and placed so as to fire across the wall, skimming it. I had to flag it with a piece of cardboard and a lump of chewing gum (note to self: replace lost cards and elastic bands), to prevent any light contamination of my main subject.

    Immediately above the background light, I placed a second gridded speedlight facing towards the subject. This provided the accent light seen frame left.

    Finally, the main light was provided by a Godox Witstro 180Ws, (also available under various rebrands such as Cheetah Stands, Strobies, Pixapro, Lencarta etc) firing through a 90cm folding Octa at just above head height and barely camera right.

    Nikon D3 1/125th sec ISO200 24-70mm f8

    2.

    This second image was taken in the same manner

    Nikon D3 1/125th sec ISO200 24-70mm f8

    3.

    And the same again :)

    Nikon D3 1/125th sec ISO200 24-70mm f8

    This is the most basic of lighting, in the tightest of spaces.

    Budget Version:

    Other than substituting the Godox light for another speedlight, you can't get much cheaper or much more basic. The folding 90cm Octa was an ebay special at about £15 or £20 and works fine , although the fixing bracket is flakey!

    Things to bear in mind:

    Even the steepest of challenges usually has a workaround. Here, the main challenge was getting the lighting gear and model within the 5x5 area, and then flagging the various light sources to avoid cross contamination.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2016
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  2. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    Appreciate these little tutorials.. My only suggestion is that you take a shot of the overall set up or draw a diagram... you know the old picture is worth a thousand words thing

    K
     
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  3. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    511
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    I have to agree wholeheartedly Kevin.

    Unfortunately, I'm invariably tearing around trying to fit an hour's shoot into 35 minutes :dash2:

    Or in this case, a full lighting setup and a model into a broom cupboard!:mad:
     
  4. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    Understand the time constraints.. but even a quick iphone shot might make the message more relevant

    K
     
  5. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    511
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    I do agree, and I'm constantly mythered by my assistants to do it.

    But please, no swearing on the forum.
    iPhone indeed!!! :doh:
     
  6. kauphymug

    kauphymug Mu-43 Regular

    85
    May 1, 2015
    Cowford, Florida
    What's an Eye Phone ?
     
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  7. DaveEP

    DaveEP Mu-43 Top Veteran

    683
    Sep 20, 2014
    York, UK
    You know.... the iPhone is a valuable photographic tool. I use it to record where I parked my car at the airport ;)
     
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  8. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    511
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    Actually, all joking aside, I was looking into a way to trigger flashes using a smart phone not too long ago.
    I wanted to prove image quality is more about the quality of light than megapixels and sensor size. I got sidetracked, but maybe I should give it another go in the New Year.
     
  9. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    Please tell me you are joking...

    and that you are not that snobbish that in order to communicate a message you wouldn't use the obvious tool
     
  10. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    511
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    I was indeed joking Kevin.

    I was eluding to the usual apple/android argument.
    I suppose it would have carried more weight if it was canon and Nikon, but they don't make phones.

    I'm often shooting in dark areas that wouldn't really register for a phone pic.

    The previous bridal pic being a good example.
     
  11. PakkyT

    PakkyT Mu-43 Top Veteran

    767
    Jun 20, 2015
    New England
    Just wanted to comment that the odd padded wall I think worked perfectly with the look of the models. If no one knew, it would appear you purposely picked that background to go with the hair and makeup colors of the models.
     
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  12. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Clint
    The thrills of professional photography! These type of situations are aggravating, invigorating and challenging. Yet I'm learning that these types of situations are what I really enjoy. I've started thinking about retiring, yet I now know the thing I would miss the most are these situations.

    Great photographs BTW!

    A couple of things you might consider equipment wise, I noticed you said you used a 90cm Octa. Last year I picked up a Norman 48cm/19" octa that fits on the Quantum/Godox Witstro just for purposes like this - it pops open and closes similar to an umbrella. And because my Quantum's only go down to 1/64th power I keep precut ND filters on hand so I can shoot more open apertures, before the NDs I often had to stop down for correct exposure. BTW - this octa has a hot spot so I sewed in another layer of 1 stop diffusion cloth about 13cm (5") dia in the middle. Because I seem to have a hard time finding elastic bands when I need them (they just seem to disappear!) I also purchased two large Rouge FlashBender 2 - they fit my FL-600R all the way up to my Quantum's .
     
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  13. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    511
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    Hmmm, sounds interesting, although the Norman range doesn't appear that frequently this side of the puddle, although that's hardly an excuse TBH.

    I have to say, I really like the Witstro dedicated mini Octa, although the one I had at the time of this shoot was the pre-production model, as was the 180Ws Witstro. (It wasn't called a Witstro at the time, and the name had to change due to copyright issues). The prototype octa had a mount that was just far too soft, and would need reshaping after every use. The diffusion panel fitted to the very edge of the octa, so the spill was pretty much uncontrollable, and couldn't really be feathered. No way of fitting a honeycomb either.
    The production version's a million times removed from the prototype.

    Incidentally, if you enjoy steep challenges, and having to think out of the box, I really need to introduce you to Rachel.
    It's not so much that you get dropped in it neck deep, but more like you need a three foot straw!
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  14. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    511
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    oh, I do have some flash benders, which are brilliant. In fact, they're so good, I have to have foraging trips through my assistants equipment cases to reclaim them.

    I must buy some more!
     
  15. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Clint
    I think those Octas are made by the same company and then sold under different names. The first one I purchased came from Cheetahstand.com (same as the Norman) - he ships worldwide. However here is alink to the Wistro version on Amazom UK - Godox AD-S7 Multi-functional Softbox Soft Box For: Amazon.co.uk: Camera & Photo which is less cost.

    If I can ever get back to England I'd definitely look you up. In the early 70s I went to England to photograph some sites for a family historian and ended up shooting photos of Gawthorpe Hall (estate -spelling, name) for the National Trust. Something I'd really love to do again as I have no photos from back then. I think that can't be too far from where you are.

    Try that small Octa again - it is not super great but has come in handy many times for me. I keep two of the with my Q-flash gear just in case.

    I no longer have assistants so don't have worry about them, just have to remember where "I" put stuff. ;-)
     
  16. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    511
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    LOL

    Yep Gawthorpe Hall ain't too far away ;)

    And yes, I have three of those Octas, the full kits with additional deflector plate and honeycombs. (although I have something nagging at the back of my mind that I may have had more!). They are superb bits of kit, and it was the preproduction model of that Octa I used originally when doing the field testing.
    I do still have the original Octa, along with the pre-production 180Ws Witstro which they originally called a Deolight. Market research prior to mass production must have been a bit flakey!!
    Still use the 180Ws quite a bit, especially with food shoots.

    I find the Octa to be excellent for single light situations, especially with the honeycomb.

    This was shot in a very "busy" hotel lobby, with all sorts of display cases, reception desk and furniture. The honeycomb pooled it quite nicely, along with maxing the synch speed and a low ISO to kill the ambient.

    WedFayre_025 copy.

    There's another from that particular wedding, and again one light, which I'll upload as another Lighting Example at some point. I think I have a BTS shot too, which will please Kevin.

    Oh, and if you do head over this way at some point, you definitely need to call in.
     
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