Saturday, November 14, 2015

Mixed Lighting for Fashion - Nashville Photo Shoot

Recently did a photo shoot just outside of Nashville that utilized a lot of mixed lighting. These were shot in mid-afternoon sun, bright enough to cast deep shadows. We balanced that by using strobes and I wanted to share the process and the results. 

Stephanie was willing to climb up onto a tree branch and wait. I used a gridded softbox, high camera left to light her face and fill the front somewhat. The natural light coming through the trees did the rest and I embraced the lens flare. To enhance that, I had [hair / makeup artist] Amanda pull some leaves close to the edge of the lens. They caught the light and added some of the edge glow you see. Very little Photoshop on this image. 

Since we were at the lake, we continued over by the water. This image was taken with Stephanie facing the sun. Still had the bright glaring sunlight, but I wanted to underexpose the background. I used a neutral density filter to allow me to darken it all down, while keeping my settings where I wanted them. With a .06, I could shoot at ISO 100, f5.6 and stay under sync speed. This way, I had a dark background with shallow depth of field, and I could control the strobe. The light was a beauty dish, high camera right. I wanted the punchiness of the beauty dish with a rapid fall-off. It was close to Stephanie, with a diffusion sock, so the shadow transitions are still soft.

Ok, it wasn't super cold, but it wasn't that warm either. Stephanie was a champ, and managed to look relaxed. Again, these were facing the sun, which was now low on the horizon, and shot with a beauty dish. In this case, we left the strobe on shore, so it was a little further away. I had to be very careful with the ratios to prevent them from looking like they were hit with a flashlight. The last one, for example, had a lighter background, which was partially necessary because I had the flash so much further away.

I would argue that even if you don't like the look of these, they at least demonstrate the value of understanding strobes. They could not have be done with 100% natural light or a reflector. Don't rob yourself of creative possibilities.

This also wouldn't have been possible without a really talented model and hair / makeup artist. The jewelry, etc, was on loan from a local designer. It's essential to have a team like this if you want to get higher level results.

#nashvillephotoshoot #nashvillethebeautiful