I just thought I’d give a little insight to how I go about working out the setup for a picture. There are so many places you can find lighting diagrams, but then if you try changing the recipe, it doesn’t work quite right. Here’s how I build from the ground up. In this case, I had the opportunity to photograph my mother for a corporate headshot.
First shot with no lights.
Blech. No offense, Mom, but this light doesn’t look good on anybody. Always start with just one light so you can build it, and if something doesn’t work, then you’ll know what it is and be able to fix it faster. (Also, that is NOT a spot on my sensor. I took a painting off the wall to use as my studio backdrop, so that is a hook, it’s just blurry. You remove it in photoshop the same way as a dust spot though.)
And here’s a light through an umbrella.
Ahh, much better. But the dark side is too dark, so I decided to add a hair light.
Now you see that created some problems. I have blown highlights (but the flash is not variable power) and it lights up every little bit o’ frizz, and that just won’t do. I decided that if I turned and bounced it off the wall, it would lighten up that side just a little bit. And if I added a gel, then I could make my background the color I want, without having to knock it out in photoshop.
That looks so much better, but the shadow side of her face is still too dark. I scrambled for something reflective and found a styrofoam steak cooler, so I set it up as a reflector.
It’s a subtle difference, but that’s all it takes. (I love this box so much, one of these days I’m going to turn it into a beauty dish. I think it will work superbly until I get my Elinchrom kit.)
Here’s the slave flash. For anybody who needs more lights without breaking the bank, this is only 25 bucks on Amazon. Pink Gel is taped on.
The red circle on the left is the slave flash, creating my background and hair light (kinda). The right circle is the steak cooler with a weight in it so it stays upright. It worked pretty well. You’ll notice the umbrella isn’t all the way out. That is part because of my space limitation so I could shoot around, and part because I like my light a little punchier, so that why I’m looking forward to my DIY beauty dish.
Final image will be posted in the Corporate Headshots portfolio page soon!