So, how do you get from the calm, cool, office professional of the above pic in the header, to the sweaty, post-workout persona below? Aside from different wardrobe, baby oil, a smoke machine and a whole bunch of sprayed on perspiration?
Light! Both of these, shot for the class I did couple weeks ago at Creative Live, showed off, I think, the excellent strengths of both small flash and big flash, and why you would use one over the other at any given time. It’s a question that often comes up at workshops. When do you tip from small flash to big? There’s not a hard and fast boundary, but perhaps these two pix give a feel for the deal.
This shot, above, was done with three flashes, but two of those are really acting as one. Two Profoto B-4 units are out on the street, high on c-stands, gelled warm so they appear to be the sun, low on the horizon, reaching its golden glow, late afternoon stage. No shapers, just full power light, popped in intensity by narrow beam reflectors. Needed these lights to bring the hammer down on the still plentiful daylight out there in the world beyond the window.
The “main light” (which is a far weaker source) is a Profoto B-1, above Brittany, camera left, running through a 1×3 strip softbox, fitted with a grid, or egg crate, as they are sometimes called. Done. Main light, backlight. Add sweat and grab a good expression.
Now, the above is, well, more on the intricate side. Flash power ain’t the issue here. Control is. I needed to drive a main light to her, and then just accent certain areas of the photo with little splashes and pools of warmish light. The dominant light in the room is the deep blue of the window, so I wanted to go warm on my lights, to a degree, to get some cool/warm visual vibrato going.
This “office shot” or “corporate style” photo involves seven SB-5000 units, all radio controlled. I am directing their behavior via the WRR-10 transceiver plugged into the ten pin on my D5. The lens is a 105mm f1.4. The main light, emanating from the direction of the big computer comes from a new light shaper from Lastolite, the Speed Lite 2 box. It is almost out and the prototypes I’ve been working with have been giving off a wonderful control and quality of light, especially considering it is a quintessentially small light shaper.
Three warm gelled Speedlights are against the far wall, on the floor, creating a little glow off the brick. Two others are pretty much bounced off the surface of her desk, near the two computers, to give them a touch of detail. Another gelled light lightly caroms off her dark hair. A bunch of small lights, each doing just a little, adding up to the wholesale shift of the look of the room.
No flash? No WB control? No gelling on the flashes? It looks like this.
Shaping light is kind of like a puzzle. There are small pieces and big pieces.