Ok so first off just to clarify…it’s the look that’s moody, not Brian or Simon that you’ll see in the pictures below 🙂
So with that cleared up I thought in this post I’d take you through the lighting set up that I used to create this picture of my Buddy, Brian Dukes.
Brian was with me when I was in Wales a couple of weekends back whilst I was working on my 1940’s Project and I took this picture of him before we got started and were waiting for the folks in wardrobe, hair & makeup to be ready.
The feedback having shared this picture across my social media has been wonderful so I thought I’d give you a look behind the scenes in case it was something you fancied giving a try.
First of all, here’s the kit I used:
- Sony A7 RII (Camera)
- Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master (Lens)
- 3 Legged Thing – Winston (Tripod)
- TetherTools (Cable and Jerk Stopper for Tethering to my Computer)
- Capture One (Software)
- Elinchrom ELB 400 HS
- Elinchrom 44cm Beauty Dish (with white deflector fitted and shower cap)
- California Sunbounce Mini Reflector (Silver and White)
- Phottix C-Stand with Boom Arm
So now you’re aware of the kit, here’s how it was all set up. Obviously in this picture it’s not Brian being photographed but the set up was exactly the same for him (he just stepped out to help whilst I photographed Actor Simon Fowler)
Behind Brian, or in this case Simon, was the plain grey wall and the Beauty Dish was positioned to the front, above and in line with his face (nose)
Positioning the Beauty Dish in this way with it slightly aimed back towards Brian rather than directly down to the floor, meant that illuminated his face without giving him what’s commonly referred to as Panda Eyes where the eye sockets are in shadow. Using the reflector beneath also helped to add some light onto his neckline and a little into the eyes but not so much that it created ‘horror’ or ‘up lighting’. Having the reflector higher up so that it was just out of shot would have meant more light bouncing back onto his face which in turn would have created that ‘horror’ lighting look so I kept it nice and low so that just enough light reflected back.
You can tell that the Beauty Dish was in line with his face (nose) because of how even the nose shadow is:
As for the shadow going across the face, this was created by the angle of the hat. Ordinarily without the hat the light would have been even down his face, but angling the rim of the hat to the side slightly created an angled shadow and kept one side of the face in shadow. This gave the desired look but thanks to the reflector, the shadow side of the face still contained lots of visible detail rather than being much darker.
For those of you interested in settings:
- Aperture: f/2.0
- ISO: 100
- Shutter Speed: 1/500sec
So as to maintain the right amount of ambient light in the shot whilst shooting wide open at f/2.0, I used Elinchrom’s Hi Sync (different to HSS – High Speed Sync) which meant I could use the sync speed of 1/500sec. Hi Sync will actually allow me to shoot at shutter speeds up to 1/8000sec which is insanely good; I didn’t need to go that fast for this shoot of course but you get the idea.
Using the exact same set up, here’s a couple of the portraits of Simon Fowler.
Again notice the nose shadow in the picture on the right being the same as that on the picture of Brian, but then in the picture on the left how the shadow goes off at an angle; this being because Simon tilted his head:
As always I was tethering during this photo shoot for the exact same reasons I always say i.e. slows me down and allows me to see much more detail on a larger screen. The software I was using though wasn’t Lightroom which you may have expected but was in fact CaptureOne. This is an incredible piece of software that I’ve been using more and more over the past few months; in fact ever since the Dunkirk Photo Shoot with the Phase One.
At the moment I use it purely for Tethering because that side of it is simply brilliant! Plug your camera in, turn it on and you’re good to go….it’s that easy and in all the time I’ve been using it have never had it fail on me, stall, need a reset etc … A different story when it comes to using Lightroom for tethering as you’ll no doubt know if you use it. However, this (for now) is how I use CaptureOne…for the tethering. Lightroom is still a part of my workflow and of course Photoshop will always be.
Before I forget to mention it, you can see from the BTS photographs that I used the Shower Cap on the Beauty Dish but also had the white deflector fitted inside too over the bare bulb. For those of you who don’t know, this just adds an extra layer of diffusion / softness to the light and is what I prefer to do for my own style.
Right, can’t think of anything else to let you know about from this photo shoot so if you do have any questions / comments then drop them in the comments section below and I’ll make sure to answer them.
Actually there is one thing…
Shooting portraits wide open at around f/2.0 as in this case would ordinarily be quite tricky…hence the tripod. However one thing I am soooo loving with the Sony I’ve moved to is the focus peaking and how putting it into Manual mode then zooms in so you can fine tune the focus and what’s sharp is covered in a coloured lines…so clever!
In the mean time though you can check out LARGE versions of the portraits I made here over on my 500px portfolio page [CLICK HERE]
Catch you next time,