I’ve done several setups with multiple lights lately so I wanted to simplify things a bit and go back to a single light for a quick shoot. I could have wrapped things up in under ten minutes but we got delayed by a stray baby that walked onto the set.
I’m not kidding either when I say this was a quick shoot, the time from the first test frame (actually only required one before I got the light down the way I wanted it) to the final frame was thirteen minutes, including the time it took to shoo away the baby several times and shooting it with the model a couple of times as well. There isn’t all that much that can be said about these shots since they’re so simple but let’s see if we can pick them apart.
Like I said, this is a single light, a LP160 in sofbox. For the first shot you see here, the model (my ever patient wife) is sitting at a table and on the table I’ve placed a white board as a reflector to fill in the shadows. Interesting trivia (or irrelevant info, you decide): the board is the back of an old book shelf and it’s also used to block the sun from a window, very versatile). The light is placed almost directly above our lovely subject. A boom would have made this easier but I still haven’t got one. However, I still managed to get the light stand close enough to get the softbox above and in front thanks to the fact that I’m shooting closeups with a 85mm lens. What this setup gives us is a classic clamshell type of light, which is very flattering. It’s a symmetrical light that gives the face a nice glow and brings out the cheek bones. I also think it gives very nice catch lights in the eyes.
Next I changed things up to get a more moody look. I removed the reflector and moved the light down and to camera left. With these very quick and easy changes we get a different mood with more drama. I also decided to edit these shots in black and white (with a slight change in tone in the sepia direction) to put more emphasise on that mood and drama. I like both looks so it’s difficult to say which is better; I like both of them and I’m quite happy with the results. The two shots I’ve included here are my favourites but there were several good ones so be sure to check them out.
By the way, the choice of black on black was intentional. I wanted the pictures to be minimalistic and keep the focus on the face, where it belongs. I think it works pretty well, though in some of the shots you get a bit of a floating head syndrome. All in all a good way to start the new year (even if the shots were actually taken the year before). I hope I can keep it up and hopefully even improve the quality as we continue into 2012.