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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Lighting with One Strobe (at S.P.C.)

Lighting a subject with one strobe is one of those techniques in photography which is extremely underrated.  As a beginner photographer, lighting can be daunting and overwhelming.  It's not only an art, but it is extremely technical.  Once a photographer learns the process of how to, over using the number of lights necessary for a shoot becomes an easy thing to do.  You get excited about the boundless lighting possibilities, and before you know it you have a light in every corner of the studio.  When you have more than a couple lights set up, you have to start wondering if they are all necessary.  Shadows are just as important as light, and no photographer can deny the countless number of beautiful images that have been created with just one light source.
I spoke at St. Petersburg College this week, and the students in the class were taking a beginners studio lighting class.  Being it's the beginning of the semester, they were focusing on learning how to light with one strobe. As I was browsing through some of my own work in preparation for the lecture, I realized that much of my work was created by only using one light source.  It's simple, and I'm a simple girl.  So, I guess you can say it suits me.  We started in the digital lab going through some of my shoots.  I showed some behind the scenes, and talked about some last minute situations you can run into.  Then we headed to the school's photography studio.
In the studio, the students and I went through a few different single light set ups you can use for portraiture.  The final set up was a single octobank over the camera and overhead of the subject.  The three photos below are from the series.  The first image is just the octobank.  The second image we added a large white reflector in the lap of the subject, reflecting light under the chin.  The third image we added two more reflectors on each side of the subject.  So we ended up with one light and three reflectors.
Thanks to Brian for being our sit-in for this demonstration.  Not sure if you noticed him getting happier as the shoot was going along.  The consensus from the students was that adding the reflectors were making him look younger.  Not a bad reason to smile!

Had a great time in Tampa.  Thanks again to ASMP Central Florida, the students, and their instructor Frank Duffy for making it happen.

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