This shoot is from back in 2017. Myself and Rhianna spent some time in the studio creating new images.
Going forward on these posts I will try to provide more BTS/Setup frames so you can see what is happening on set and later videos. I just need to get some other content on to YouTube first.
Let’s look at the first set.
For this set I used a 600ws ( watt seconds ) studio head in a 7ft Parabolic Umbrella + Diffuser for the single light source. We shot both seated portraits and full length ( which is always a challenge with a large modifier in my studio), the light source is large and soft along with providing good coverage head to toe.
If you want to cover a person/portrait from head shots, seated to full body a larger modifier is your friend and you can also gain a softer light if the source is large like in this setup.
Tip: softness is not created by diffusion .. diffusion diffuses and reduces contrast. That’s it. For soft light your source must be larger in relation to your subject. More on this in later tutorials.
Camera Stuff – Canon 5D Mark II, 70-200 F2.8L IS.
ISO 100, 1/160th sec, F5.6 & F9 for the stood/stool full length shots.
Please note that cameras settings won’t tell you the whole story. You don’t have my camera and lens, my lights or modifiers nor do you know the distance of the light source. Because of this I almost don’t want to include them but here they are.
You can see in the last shot the light position. The left edge of the modifier is pitched up just a little bit to give a move even light and prevent a hot spot on the feet and floor. A parabolic umbrella when diffused still has a hotter centre then the edges.
This large of a light source gave Rhianna room to move and pose with out having to worry too much about the light position or playing toward the light, it’s very forgiving in that regard.
For the next images in this set we shot some full length both on the stool and stood. To do this I upped the power of the light to get F8 then stopped down to F9 as the white dress was starting to lose detail in some places.
The light modifier was the same 7ft Parabolic but I changed the angle lifting the left edge up further to even out the exposure. You need to stop and think before shooting, even with this nice large source. As Rhianna stood she was naturally closer to the light so lifting that edge up helps to prevent a few things.
1. An exposure problem – hotter head vs body exposure.
2. Gives a little freedom to move with not being so close to the edge of the light. Light falls off more rapidly the closer you are to your source and a distance change ( subject to light) when working close can mean a dramatic change in exposure.
I stopped down to gain a little more depth of field.
For full length images my go to lens is normally my 85mm. It’s a safe portrait lens and looks good on most people and also head shots but foe this set I shot at 70mm because it provides a different feel and perspective than 85 and I get to work a little closer to my client / portrait subject.
Sometimes you don’t want that because it can intimidate people or start to shape the body in a way you don’t want but other times it just works.
Tip: Perspective changes everything. It’s not the lenses fault it’s your working distance. Also lens compression is not a thing.
For the next set we change the look and feel completely and shot with hard light.
I don’t have a lighting setup shot for this because the light is in the office set right. The light is a 600ws studio light with 7” standard reflector and it’s being fired through the door way of the studio’s office.
This provides a hard light and a slit of light across the floor of the set. The hard light hit the door frame and cast a shadow.
I shot this set at settings that you won’t normally shoot within a studio environment to get the noise in camera and not in post. Get what you can done in camera, it’s a much better way to work.
Canon 5D Mark II, 85mm lens.
ISO 1250,F5.6, 1/160th sec.
Rhianna brought the poses on this one to match the feel of the light. Gritty hard light, black & white processing and an edge. Sure you could shoot smiley portraits like this but it would not make much sense.
This shoot was before I moved to the Pixapro Storm II lights so you can see a little motion blur in the last shot. That is all down to flash duration.
For the last set we change the look again and moved to the grey wall on the right of the set.
I kept with a single light setup but used a 140cm x 35 cm strip box with grid. Over the last few years I have come to really love my strip boxes as modifiers. They can be used as key lights, rims, separation or pull double duty if used right. Love em.
Rhianna was seated on a stool for this set and the light ( as can be seen in one of the images) was placed on camera right. I used the grid on the strip box to give further control and to create a natural vignette with light and not in post.
TIP: Grids don’t focus light they just control the spill and where it hits, that and provide more contrast in a scene as a result. To focus a light, you need to focus a flash head either with a reflector, Fresnel or zoom of a speedlite and you also gain light intensity because it’s focused which in turn gains you F-Stop. People often get this wrong. When you use a grid your will typically lose F-stop and power.
Back to the images.
Canon 5D Mark II, 85mm F1.8 USM
ISO 100, F5.6, 1/160th sec.
What would you like to see in these posts in the future?
Got a question, pop it in the comments below.
Thank you for reading.