Just one Light…

A lot of people ask me about my lighting techniques, and how I come up with some of the things that I do in order to light things effectively.  The last blog post was definitely one with a complicated light setup in it too.  This one is a little differently.  I believe it was Zack Arias that recommended originally that anyone learning to light should learn to do so with a Single 60″ umbrella and that’s it.  Mainly  because that’s all you really need.  Not that hair lights, and fill lights, and background lights aren’t necessary in some cases, but in most cases they totally aren’t…

(CANON 5D Mark II, 250ISO, Canon 70-200F2.8IS@200mm, 1/40th@F10.  Single Canon 580EX Speedlight to below camera left at 1/4th power zoomed to 70mm shot through a 32″ Translucent Umbrella fired by Pocket Wizard)
Nicole here is the Neice of the owner of Ceez Genesis Salon here in Indy.  Had two lights set up to start and totally according to plan one didn’t fire giving me this.  The other one with both lights looks pretty solid too, but I love the way the light defines her face in this; and so does she.  Only one light thought, and it most definitely works.  It wasn’t even a 60″ Umbrella like I was pushing above the pic! 
The one light isn’t just a fill light from on camera though and unless you have a ring-light, direct on camera flash as your only light source should be last resort.  Ring-light is a very style specific piece of equipment that can be used for either that style, or at a very low power as a fill light.  Personally I’m not much a fan of the ring-light, but that’s another story for another day; back to the Umbrella.  Say you don’t have an  umbrealla and can’t afford one?  There are lots of things you can do with a single solitary light without an umbrella….
(Nikon D3s, 1600iso, Nikon 18-23F3.5-4.5@22mm.  1/40th@F5.6.  Single SB-900 Speedlight zoomed to 200mm on a light stand set to 1/16th power aimed directly down on the bride and groom fired by Pocket Wizard)
My Pal Scott at Roberts Distributors reminded me the other day that a little bit of hard light can go a long way sometimes.  The above photo was made using ambient light as a very little bit of fill light, with a single bare bulb strobe behind the Bride and Groom.  Yes it took several shots to get this one, in fact I’m pretty sure I have about 50 shots of the light blasting me in the eyes……but in the end this shot was worth the effort, and the bride and groom have something very unique to remember the moment with.  
Doesn’t take much light sometimes.  Earlier this week I shot a semi commercial job using a single hard light actually.  It was kind of a last second job with no staff or budget, but we made it work.  Vincents Furs wanted some photos of their jackets, and the ads are going to look like a night out on the town.  Due to lack of any other preparation we went with the Single Speedlight approach.  Seemed to work ok…..
(Canon 5D Mark II, 320ISO, Canon 16-35F2.8L@18mm.  1/100th@F5.6.  Single Canon 580EX Speedlight set to 1/8th Zoomed out to 24mm held directly over the table from camera right attached to the end of a Home Depot Paint pole fired by pocket wizard held by one of the Male models waiting for their turn to be shot.)
That’s an outtake from the shoot.  Not sure if its what they are looking for or not, but we’ll find out.  Probably would have been nice to have had drinks or something on the table, but with a lack of budget we weren’t going to buy 12 beers for the cast and crew and then either finish the shoot a little beer’d up or leave them there….  
Sometimes though, you just need to go all out, or maybe just observe things are they are………behold the beauty of photography.  Had a lot of different experiences the last two weeks since I’ve blogged.  Roller Derby Nationals is coming up in Chicago next weekend.  I won’t be attending as I’ve got a few gigs here in Indy that I booked prior, but I will be represented by photography up there in programs and as some trading cards.  Derby season has started up again too………but this is all too much to go into now….More Soon.