I’ve been concentrating efforts lately into the new InSight Workshops and in particular around putting together a Workbook that will be given to each attendee. Tom Colley is to be one of our regular models for the Workshop so I caught up with him the other day to go out ‘shooting’ for a few hours and to work on some pictures that will be used in the workbook.
Now what was unusual about this shoot, for me atleast, was that generally I like to go out beforehand around the area where we’ll be working to select certain areas that have potential, but this time I didn’t; neither did I have an assistant come along with me to help with equipment. However, despite this ‘stepping out of the comfort zone’ it was actually quite a refreshing experience searching ‘on the fly’ for locations and shots, so I’d definitely recommend it. Incidentally we were over in a beautiful little Village in Buckinghamshire called Haddenham which is where Tom lives, and in fact all of the photos below were taken no more than 5 minutes from Tom’s front door.
All of the photos in this series were taken using just one light. For the majority of the time I used a small Nikon Speedlight but on occasion had to use my Alien Bees rig. The only reason for this was the time of the day were were shooting; around 12.30pm so the sun was still quite bright. Had we been working a little later in the day when the sun wasn’t so powerful then the Nikon Speedlight would have been more than adequate, and would have saved carrying alot more kit around.
Having lost count of how many 60″ shoot-thru umbrella’s I’ve broken because of the wind snapping them I decided not to use one this time. That’s not to say I don’t use them now, far from it…I absolutely love them, it’s just that there was slight breeze in the air and as we were going to be working out in the open with little cover a softbox was more appropriate. Umbrella’s especially when used as a shoot-thru become ‘sails’ if there’s the slightest hint of a breeze around, so a softbox which is an enclosed light modifier is more appropriate as it won’t catch the breeze anywhere near as much. That said we did have a few challenges because every now and then the wind would kick pick up just that little bit more and the light stand would start to topple. In an ideal world this is where sandbags come in handy or an assistant to just hold the light stand steady, but we didn’t have those luxuries so it was a case of waiting for the right moment then quickly taking a few shots.
Our next location was under a small railway bridge between two fields. Not being in the open meant we didn’t have the challenge of midday sun to contend with so the first of these two shots were taken using a Nikon Speedlight.
The final shots below were taken after a much needed coffee to warm up, and were next to an old piece of wire fencing by the side of the road. Again, a really simple lighting set up using a single Nikon Speedlight.
The shots taken by the old building with Tom stood next to the door were taken using a single Nikon Speedlight fitted with no modifiers at all. Because of the time of day to get any detail in the sky meant working at the maximum sync speed of 1/250th second and then dialing in the appropriate f stop which in this case was f/7.1 This gave a decent looking sky so all that was left then was to add some light onto Tom who without it, working at these camera settings was barely visible. The Speedlight had to be used at full power and was zoomed to 105mm to give it a bit more direction and to make the use of as much light coming from it as possible as opposed to spreading it all around.
Due to being out in the open with no shade and a bright sun, the series of shots in the field meant I had to use my Alien Bees lighting. Like I mentioned before, the only reason for this was because of the time of day we were shooting ie 12.30pm. Had we been shooting later in the day, say around 3pm then a Nikon Speedlight would have been just as good. Working at the maximum sync speed of 1/250th second an aperture of f/9.0 was what was needed to give a decent amount of detail in the sky, and the Alien Bees needed only to be on 1/2 power so recycle time was kept to a minimum between shots.
To prevent the Octabox and light stand from toppling over quite so easily, I hung the Vagabond Battery pack from one of the handles by it’s strap. This did the job ok..ish but sandbags would have been alot better as the support could have been spread evenly as opposed to on the one side.
Really simple this one. Tom is stood directly infront of me in profile and on the other side of him is my lighting rig which in this case just happened to be the Octabox and the Alien Bees. The lights can be set to quite a low power as all it’s doing is creating a ‘white backdrop’ and the silhouette comes from adding no light to the front of Tom. This was a real ‘run and gun’ shot so I wasn’t really paying much attention to the camera settings. Once in Photoshop, the image is finished off increasing the ‘blacks’ a little and then adding a little more white background using the ‘Extending Canvas’ technique. This shot could have been taken just as easily using a Nikon Speedlight and the shoot-thru umbrella. The only reason it wasn’t used in this case was that the Alien Bees was already set up.
Initially with the photos next to the wire fencing I was using a Speedlight and a Shoot-Thru umbrella but what I found with this was that the light was too soft and as a consequence I wasn’t seeing any of the shadows from the fencing hit Tom. So, I changed it up and went for the speedlight on it’s own which gave a much punchier, harder light resulting in the shadows from the fencing showing through.
Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Please feel free to make use of the comments section below; I’d love to read what you think.
Bye for now.