We wanted to give you all a complete taste of the SLR Lounge Premium Library! This is one of our most popular courses – Lighting 3 – jam-packed with advanced location lighting setups and creative flash photography techniques. In this excerpt, you’ll learn how to create a dramatic portrait with a three-point light setup using the MagMod MagBox. This course is one of 4 Lighting workshops we offer in our Premium membership and offers so many innovative and creative lighting techniques to use while shooting on location.
Download the exercise files to edit along with me towards the end of this tutorial! This was the first course we made that introduced our C.A.M.P Framework. This is a system we designed to help build a shot from the ground up using critical thinking and techniques to create the best possible outcome:
- Composition: What do we want our scene to look like? Where do we want the camera to be? What’s the angle? What do we want our subjects to be doing?
- Ambient Light Exposure: Choose the intention of the scene. Do we want a dramatic image (darkening the ambient light and using more flash) or do we want a softer image (brightening the ambient light and using a more natural power of flash)?
- Modify/Add Light: Are your subjects visible in the frame or do they need to be chiseled out? Do you need to add an additional light source?
- Pose & Photograph: Take your shot!
Gear You’ll Need
- 3-4 200w/s strobes or higher: we used 4 x AD200s for this tutorial, however since making it there have been so many new additions to the market so pick your poison.
- Lighting Stands: It’s going to be easiest to have your lights on stands, we love the Manfrotto Nano Stands
- Lighting Modifier for main light: for this tutorial we used the MagBox as our key light to light our subject with 2 AD200’s attached to a MagRing. Once again, any softbox will work as long as you pinpoint the light onto the subject rather than letting it spill on the ground.
1. Decide on Your Composition
We were out on location shooting at a rundown gas station and the sun was just peering in overhead. To accentuate the sunlight we wanted to place the subject directly underneath it, almost as if to create a spotlight effect. After taking a test shot I realized the composition was a bit too dull and wanted to add more interest with two off-camera lights on either side of the subject.
2. Dial-in Your Ambient Light Exposure
Instead of creating a flare with the natural sunlight coming in overhead, I stopped down my aperture to f/14 to get a starburst effect. For this shot, here are our camera settings: 1/200th of a second, f/14, and ISO 50. You can see that we are exposing to retain as much detail as possible in the image: we still see the blue tone of the sky, all the details of the building. The only issue is, our subject is now lost in the frame since he is in a darker part of the frame.
3. Add or Modify Light
This is where we add in our key light. Since we are working with multiple light sources in this shot, let’s start with our main. Carlo is holding a MagBox directly over our subject’s head to create a butterfly light pattern. Once we finalize the location of that main light, we moved on to the side lights. The lights on either side of the subject help to edge out the body since we’ve placed our model Seth against a darker background. We’re working with a ton of variables and components to make this shot work so if you’re feeling overwhelmed by this, I suggest you refer to the Flash Photography Training System to slowly build up your confidence using flash to get to this level of utilizing it.
4. Pose For The Look
With our lights in place, we are ready to take the shot! I had Seth tilt his chin up towards the light just a smidge to give a bit more dominance over the frame and to spread some light on his awesome beard, and this is our final result edited with our Visual Flow Lightroom Presets:
If you want to see more tutorials from this course be sure to check out Lighting 3 on slrloungeworkshops.com or purchase all four of our flash courses as part of our Flash Photography Training System. All of our lighting courses, as well as comprehensive Lightroom, posing, and business tutorials are available as part of our Premium membership. If you’re looking to build confidence in your flash photography work, make sure you post your images in our free Lighting & OCF Facebook group – this is a great resource to learn from peers and see the latest trends in portrait photography lighting.