Lighting Set-up #3 Catwoman location shoot.

This shoot was great fun and a bit of a lighting challenge. We shot in the stair well in the back of a nightclub and then on the roof of a multi story car park just after sun down. Click through for a run down on how I lit the shots including lighting diagrams and what kit I used...

The Challenge with this shot  was to get the balance of light right between the skyline and the foreground where the model was. Added to that, it was freezing cold and quite exposed on that roof top so we had to work quick and bag the shot early.

On the roof.

My approach was to expose for the skyline, whack a couple of strobes up on a medium setting (1/8th power) and then adjust these to taste until I had the look that I wanted. I then used the shutter speed to fine tune this balance as we where shooting, that ambient light was fading fast!

By taking the shutter speed down from 160th I could let in more ambient light whilst keeping the foreground flash exposure constant. Quick, easy and the best part is you don't have to leave the camera and start faffing with lights mid shoot.

I find this way of working very quick and intuitive as appose to juggling ratios and numbers on a light meter. As the great David Hobby points out on his lighting blog,  it doesn't take long for you to develop what often feels like a sixth sense for what power your flash needs to be in a given situation.

I do use a flash meter occasionally, but usually just to get a base exposure as a starting point...

Lighting Set-up #2 - Simple beauty lighting

This is a very simple yet effective set up that requires only 2 lights and a reflector. It works great for a nice evenly lit head shot with a soft gradient background. You can also easily add drama to the shot by simply moving the key light to the left, right or even over head.

I used an Elinchrom D lite it2 with a white shoot through umbrella as the key light. This was on a stand about 5-6 feet high and pointing down with the tip of the umbrella aimed at the models nose. It was placed in front of the model ever so slightly off axis to camera right and at a distance of about 3-4 foot.

5 great websites for learning about photography

1. Strobist blogspot.

This blog is often credited with sparking the massive trend in off camera flash that we have seen over the last few years.It is an amazing resource of idea's, tips, techniques, reviews and industry news. The focus is primarily off camera flash and lighting techniques but also covers a plethora of other interesting and relevant topics.

2. Fstoppers

A fairly new blog covering a wide range of behind the scenes video's from a vast array of photographers around the globe.

3. Adobe TV

Loads of 'how to' video's covering all the adobe software packages.

4. Luminous landscape

In-depth articles and tutorials on pretty much all aspects of photography. I particularly enjoyed the 'understanding series' which covers everything from exposure to raw files with such depth and clarity that even if you feel like you know about a certain subject, you are likely to understand it a great deal better after reading.

5. Photography on the net - canon digital photography forum

This is a great forum covering so many aspects of photography many of which are not actually Canon specific.

Enjoy ;)

Lighting set-up #1 Cross lighting

 This is one of my favorite lighting setups and it's really pretty easy to do.As you can see from the diagram bellow, its a three light setup. My key light was a 250w hot light through a white umbrella, placed with the light just above head height and aimed down slightly so that the central pole pointed to the models nose. This gives a nice soft wrap of light with those great catch lights in the eyes.

250w hot light v's 200w/s D lite it 2 studio strobe

I've been using 250w photoflex hotlights for the last few years for my studio fashion and portraiture work. Just recently I decided to upgrade my lighting and plunge into the world of studio strobes, my weapon of choice? - the 200w/s D lite it 2 from Elinchrom.

In this article I 'm going to explore the differences between the two and answer some of the questions I had when looking to buy studio lights.

Adventures in Scotland

I went on an amazing road trip up the west coast of Scotland recently. The scenery up there is breath taking, when you're surrounded by 1000m mountains you know about it! I decided to go ninja on this trip and took minimalist kit... 500D, 50mm 1.4 lens, a spare battery and 16g of memory.
The editing on these shots was also incredibly simple, most images just having a purple, green & orange gradient map layer added at opacity 28%.

Shoot Idea's #1 - The junk shop challenge

So here's the challenge...

-Create an outfit for a high fashion studio shoot on a budget of £20 using clothes from second hand shops
-The model would also be allowed to use 2-3 accessories of their own.
-Shoot in two parts, part one being a documentary style montage of the outfit being put together,
part two would be the finished outfit shot in the studio with full make-up etc.