As I get asked how I make my pics regularly, I want to start a series of making-of blogposts to explain my light-setups, camera-settings and post-processing. This blog is dealing with the first set of the shooting with VikTory (http://www.viktoriamodel.com/) ... 1-1 and 1-2 because I’ve used more or less the same setup but with completely different angles which results in completely different pics.
As it is more and more important for me to choose setups with seemingly natural light, I try to use one-light setups more frequently. This doesn’t make the setups and shootings more easily or less interesting, as you can do loads of variants with just one single light-source ... especially if you use some “passive” accessories along with the light (reflectors, light-blockers).
I used these setups primarily as an “Intro-Set” as I haven’t worked with VikTory before. Especially the 1-1 Setup is very simple and offers a lot of space to move around without being boring. And as the basic idea was “Balet-dancing combined with street-style” I wanted to give here some room to allow for more dynamic shooting.
As you can see on the setup-pics (pics 1 and 2 - made with set.a.light 3D – www.elixxier.com), I have set up one flash (profoto B1 – 500Ws) equipped with a big softbox with both diffusors mounted (Profoto Deep Octa 120cm) completely above VikTory. I’ve used a technique called “feathering”, which means I aimed the flash not on the model but at the floor in front of her (you can see that on the second pic) to achieve a homogenous light, but with a great fall-off to the back nonetheless.
I’ve used a white background, which I’ve pulled down until right in front of my position, so it acted as a reflector from below as. This reflection added to the “soft” look and diminished some of the harsher shadows. In addition to that, the reflections from the room itself lightened up the backdrop enough to appear greyish with a nice falloff.
Camera settings 1-1
I’ve used my Canon 5D IV for this shot instead of my typical studio-camera (5DsR) because I thought I could use that dynamic-range advantage this time. I wanted to shoot with a very contrasty and dark look ... the traditional “weak spot” of the Canon.
The lens was my trusted Sigma 85mm f1.4 Art with the aperture set to f8. The other settings were studio-typical ISO 100 and 1/160s shutter-speed. Nothing fancy, I just wanted to have some safety-margin to give the model some freedom in movement and to leave it to the light alone to create the look.
As you can see on the setup-pictures (Picture 3 and 4) I just moved the softbox to the side and level with the model to create a completely new look. This can be done in no time and creates a very different look with almost the same characteristics and lots of new possibilities.
The main advantage is, that this setup is much more suitable for full-body shots (which weren’t that great with the first setup). Another great feature is, that it gives you an interesting shadow to play with.
Camera settings 1-2
I left the camera settings the same as in the set 1-1. Not because of me being lazy, but for the same reasons I’ve given you there ... 😉
Conclusion/ final thoughts
The more I shoot, the more I got to love “simple” setups, at least from the “technical” point of view. As the results are most of the time better anyways than shooting with more lights (more dramatic, more natural, ...) I don’t lose anything. And in addition, I have more time for the model and to think about other stuff like composition, framing, ... and don’t have to care so much about the light.
This doesn’t mean that it is simple to shoot like this, as you have to pay close attention to detail and to positioning, posing, etc. but not so much on the lights themselves. I hate nothing more than adjusting 5 different lights until they are perfect, and the model has to wait during that time. That is a flow-killer for me and the model.