Thursday, July 22, 2010

Photo Clinic: Office Lady

In my last blog, I shared about the lighting set-up on one of the photograph sessions I took during my job assignment. I got a few feedbacks on "Office Lady" and I decided to do a follow-up; a photo clinic in which I would talk about how to improve on the framing and lighting, etc.

More inside after the jump.

One of the feedbacks I got is the glaring bounced light on the blue door in the background, which was caused by the keylight with a shoot through umbrella. Some viewers find it distracting. Well at least not to me as the flash light fell off short hence the background is slightly dimmed. OK OK maybe I'm trying to defend myself here, but hey I'm not afraid to talk about my mistakes here. I thought it would be good to do a photo-clinic so as to share with others on what to look out for during such photo session. So here we go on how to fix this mistake or problem.

One solution is to add one more strobe. Be it a SB-600, or 800 or 900 with in-built slave, it will do the job. Even a third party flash strobe like Vivitar 285HV mounted on a remote slave eye. For the former strobe, switch to Remote mode and control the flash output power from your DSLR (set as Commander) to the same group, channel and output power as your key light, in this case, its EV is set to +1, Group A Channel 1. Refer to the lighting diagram below.

In this diagram I placed the third strobe, mounted on a light stand at hgh level, right behind the book shelves, just out of sight from the camera. With its flash head pointing vertically upwards to the ceiling. This way it would allow the flash light to bounce off the ceiling, the book shelf and back onto the blue door, creating a even spread across. Hopefully to erase off the glaring bounced light as the glossy varnish on the door absorbs and reflects the bouncing light. So both bounced lights are blended together as one.

Well the result might look flat as everything is well lit up. However, with a fourth flash strobe, mounted on a Justin spring clamp and clamp the set on the top shelf behind the office lady. Put on a snoot grid on the strobe head, so as to focus a circle of light on the lady's hair and shoulder and back. Shown in the diagram below.

The size of the circle light depends on the grid size you use. You can even DIY the snoot grid. It helps to make yr subject look more 3-dimensional and stand out from the background. So here's the result with the snoot grid usage.

As I'm trying to explain and show how the result looks like, the above images are manipulated in Photoshop to show as examples.

If you do not have many strobes, the best way to avoid the glaring bounced light, is to re-compose and frame your subject tighter and at a different angle. Here's one example.

The lighting set up is still the same and the glaring bounced light still hits the blue door. So with a tighter crop, right on the spot in your camera, perhaps using a prime lens or move back with a tellephoto lens, might help. OK here's another tightly cropped shot of the Cashier guy, using the same lighting set up.

OK we have come to the end of the photo clinic session. Hope it helps you in your lighting set up and photography.

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