Adding or Enhancing Light Direction | Transcription
Working with a similar theme is our last video, in this video we’re going to be talking about adding or enhancing existing light direction. Again we’re deepening that last technique a little bit further. Here’s the cool thing, in the past say year, year and a half I’ve really gotten into fitness, bikini and boudoir photography. The reason for it is because I feel like these areas of photography have really honed my posing and lighting skills to a whole other degree simply because that’s all you have to create your image. All you have is where the light’s placed and how you outline and shape the body and the form and the pose that you actually put the body into.
We’re not dealing with a lot of clothing, we’re not dealing with other people in the types of shots that where we can use to conceal, so a regular couples photo it’s fantastic, I love doing engagement photos and wedding photos and all the other types of portraiture that we do, but we always have other things to pose along with the body. We have clothing, we have another person, we have everything else that plays into that and so we don’t get to practice lighting and pose in such a pure type of way that you do with fitness and bikini and boudoir type photography. I’ve really drawn a special affinity to these areas because of that.
I’d highly recommend going out and trying these genres of photography because they’re going to elevate your lighting and your posing skills to a whole other level. With this particular shot we have our beautiful model Jill and you might remember her earlier because we did a shot with her in Lighting 101. We actually used this shoot to demonstrate Lighting 101 and Lighting 201 techniques. For this particular shot we’re using the Bolt VB-22s with the Profoto RFI Octabox. You can use that or you can use the Profoto B2s, either way totally fine. You guys can go the full feature route or you guys can go the manual route, either way would give you both those options.
For this particular scene we’re going to need a medium strobe, we’re going to need roughly 250 to 300 watt seconds of power to get her adequately bright. Starting with our processing tips, for composition and attributes, well I want the background, our rocks and the highlights in the water and everything to have a soft focus to it. I want the boking on the water, the sparkles on the water to appear, so what am I thinking? On my Sigma 50mm Art I’m going to shoot at F2, so that way we’re not fully wide open, we’re not at 1.4 so we’re going to have a little bit more sharpness, we’re going to see a little bit more depth of field but we’re still going to have that soft look overall which is going to help not only in separating her from the background but also in giving us soft and silky skin throughout her body.
That was number one, number two sync, we’re at F2, this is midday sun, what do we need? Either high speed sync or a five stop neutral density filter. I mean you could get away with four stops too, you need five stops if you’re at 1.4. Since we’re at F2 you’re going to need at least four stops, but either way. We have a five stop ND on there to cut down our ambient light exposure, so that we can bring our sync speed down. What do we end up with the ambient exposure? We’re exposing bright, again I want this to have a sort of editorial lifestyle feel to it. I don’t want to darken this down where it looks like it’s a depressing day, I want it to look happy, like a bikini shoot should look with that beautiful bright and airy look.
We’re leaving that exposure at fairly bright and what you can see here with ambient light only, these are ambient light only shots, we’re at 1/200 of a second at F2 and ISO 100. We’re at 5800 degrees kelvin and five stop for our neutral density filter. We kept that the same through all the shots, the only difference between these ones is that where we have added our light or added our flash. You can see on the left side that we’re giving this scene a very bright and beautiful natural look to it. I’m not minding that some of my highlights are blowing out, that’s totally okay. Again, shoot with intent and purpose, not with technical stuff on your mind. The technical stuff is just to help you to get to the desired result, nothing more.
Light direction and quality, now this is where I want to analyze the shot because we’re adding and enhancing existing light direction. When I pop off my test shots which is these guys, I’m looking at where the existing light direction is. What I’m doing is I’m either adding to that existing light direction or enhancing it. What I mean by enhancing is that we’re following that existing natural light direction, but we might be amplifying it’s brightness, we might be enhancing it by making it more soft and giving it a better diffusion. That’s what we’re doing, we’re following these natural rules that this scene is giving us and adding and enhancing the existing light. That way we’re going to get to a beautiful and natural result.
We’re going to get to pose in just a second but there’s a very specific reason why I have her posed the way I do. Let’s finish talking about our light direction and quality, so we have our two VB-22s in our RFi Softbox. Again we need about 250 to 300 watt seconds of power, so either the B2 at full power or the two Bolt VB-22s at half to a quarter power should be adequate. Again, it’s all going to depend on how far you have that Softbox from your model. I have the Softbox currently boomed out on a monopod and it’s held fairly close to the subject, so we’re not running or we don’t need to run at full power.
What are we doing? We’re lighting from you can see that existing direct right there so the Softbox is placed right here. What it’s doing from this image to this image you can see that we’re following existing light but we’re enhancing it, we’re adding light, so we’re amplifying that existing light and we’re giving it a beautiful quality, we’re enhancing the quality of it and allowing it to wrap around her body just a little bit more. We’re preserving the natural shadow that was already in that scene, so we get this beautiful overall natural look. Again, take that ambient light shot and study it and look at it. Take your test shot, look at where the light is and where you want to add your additional light to it.
Light color, again this is a scene that I love to keep warm and beautiful at 5800 to 6500 degrees kelvin is a perfect look for this kind of a scene. I chose the cooler end of that range but you can choose really whatever you like based on the colors that you want to go for, so 5800 degrees kelvin was great. I didn’t need to do any gelling or anything like that of course.
When we get on to our pose frame and shoot. Watch this, watch this, let me tell you something, I don’t know what I’m trying to say. What I did here was knowing that I want to highlight her form and her figure I placed her basically facing away from, so basically the sun is directly behind her. She’s facing essentially the sky that’s in front of her. Her side, her right side is what is etched out by the sun. Look at the rim light, do you see the rim light how it catches her knee and her leg there and how it goes up and we get a highlight right on her hair and back and we get this little edge light on her arm and on her back right here and on the other leg? That’s exactly what we’re trying to create.
You’re only going to see those areas of highlight when you place those areas in front of something that’s darker. What that means is we can’t see the rim that’s around her body when it comes to the highlights in the sky. See where her chest is all the way up to her head and hair? We can’t see much there because the sky is so bright in and of itself, so what did I do with the framing of this? I shot a little bit top down. I’m okay with leaving her body and her chest and head is already in front of the brightest area in the scene, so it’s already drawing attention into that part. What I wanted to make sure was that her leg didn’t fall into that same bright area of sky and if I shot it from her height it most likely would have.
I got up a little bit higher when I was framing the shot to shoot down on her so that way I could place the darker rocks right there behind her leg and then you get that form and that silhouette drawn out in that shot. That is light number one in the scene. Light number two is to simply add and enhance the existing light that we see right here on her shape, on her form. We’re adding it in a way that it just creates a beautiful soft wrapped around the legs. If we were to put a flat light in the scene we would kill every bit of her form and her shape and so forth. If we were to light at a more angle that’s closer to where the camera’s coming from we would lose all that, we’d lose all the looks and the part that makes everything about this beautiful.
What we’ve done here is we have two shots. One shot where I’ve angled her chin towards me, chins back looking down at the camera, it shows a sense of I don’t want to say cockiness, it’s more a sense of power when her chin is up and looking down. I mean that’s what it essentially means when you have your nose up in the air, we always say he’s stuck up, he’s got his nose up. It basically in a picture it signifies that kind of power and presence and domineering effect over the camera. We have one shot with her turned towards us, we get this beautiful Rembrandt like pan on her face. I have one shot where she looks straight ahead where again, we’re allowing the viewer to not focus on her eyes and her face, but just on her form and her figure.
As far as the pose goes remember the triangle thing. We have one leg up, we have one leg down, we have the arm right here, we have all these different triangles and different things we’re creating and every part of the body is doing something different. I don’t have both arms in the same place, I don’t have both legs in the same place, I’m using those features on her to create that form and that elegance to it. I’m having her arch her back so it sticks her back out and it creates that curvature in her spine that works so well in bringing out her figure and bringing out her butt and everything like that and making it look sexy and curvy and so forth.
Analyze the scene, again when we have the existing light there we can use it to give us an example of, as a modeling light. I can look at this shot and make sure that with the existing light there’s no shadows and everything in unwanted places and when I amplify that light I should be good to go because I’ve used the existing light as our modeling light to set us up. Once we have everything set up, again my tip is to always use different camera angles, switch out your lenses, get up high, shoot top down. One of my favorite shots in this scene was when I got up high on a different rock and I shot straight top down on her and we had this beautiful look where we feature the necklace and the bikini and we have her looking up towards the camera. All we have to do now is Photoshop out these little lights, the little highlights from our Octabox and everything which we’d have to do in the other shots too. You can see how beautiful these images are directly out of our camera.
What have we done in this series? We have created a beautiful, natural look to the image. It’s a very bright and airy lifestyle look, we’ve used our flash to amplify and to enhance the light quality of the existing fill light that we saw on her body, while also using the existing sunlight as our secondary light to basically reveal and bring out her form.