Light Set Up: One 7″ bare reflector head
In March this year, I had the opportunity to attend a photography workshop by Andrea Belluso, my idol in photography. I signed up with the intention to come back home with a tonne of information about how I could technically improve my photography in terms of lighting, composition..umm you get it – the usual photography workshop stuffs.
But the truth is that this was not at all the content of the entire workshop. Yes, Andrea did demo many techniques he uses to create his stunning portraits but it was all about how he did it – I know what’s on your mind when I tell this but that’s not it. What he demonstrated through the three whole days of the workshop was completely different from the workshops by any photographer.
FEEL YOUR IMAGE - FEEL YOUR LIGHTS!!
All over the internet, there are tonnes of tutorials about what is the “RIGHT” (yes I have deliberately CAPSified it) lighting for a particular images. Those three days of workshop made me think, who actually made that hard and fast rule that a beauty dish is the only light with which you can create a beauty portrait!! If we knew each of the light modifiers we own properly and what kind of light it produces and the basic 10th grade physics of light as, all you need to do is feel the light you need in the portrait you want to create, clip in the modifier and press that shutter.
Maybe I had this knowledge all along (if not I wouldn’t be having my clients hire me for their shoots obviously!!), but I think I never cared to embrace the fact. After the workshop I wanted to test it myself.
I had this crazy idea in mind, with the model lit with hard light in bright colored outfits and hair and holding men’s kicks. I texted Natalia, whom I knew who be the only person who could crack this shoot, Ellaine who is an amazing make-up artist and called up my buddy Ahmed, the only crazy person I knew who collected limited edition shoes like a mad man. And we got some colored wigs, planned a date for the shoot and I created these portraits using just a single light and modifier – a single 7″ bare reflector head on my GODOX AD 600.
Totally cool right!! The kind of image we could create if we new basic physics and what exactly each light shaping tool does, right!!
USE THE ENERGY YOU RADIATE TO CREATE YOUR STUNNING PORTRAITS!!
What’s your usual drill during a photoshoot? Do you keep your reference shots open and always take a peek if you’re doing good in copying the shot? Or maybe even keep showing the model, that is the exact pose you want and keep telling her to try it a million times?
Reference shots are important in planning a shoot – TO CREATE A MOOD BOARD TO COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR TEAM (Yes, I CAPSified that too!!) and not as a Bible for your photoshoot. Have you ever tried exactly re-creating one of your own works from a previous photoshoot? Have you succeeded? If you think you have, then it’s time for you to get a new set of spectacles to observe every minute detail in both images.
You can never re-create an image 100% because there are a million factors that come into play when creating an image. The the camera, camera angle, lighting, height of the light modifier, the distance of the light from the model, the model, the energy of the model, the energy of the photographer and the list goes on. The energy you and your model shared that particular moment that created the image will never be the same. If the light stand is raised or lowered by 10cm or moved forward or backward by 10cm, the image create will never be the same. If you cannot re-create one of your own images then how can you ever think of re-creating an image of another photographer? And if you still continue to do so, you are wasting not only your time but the time of your whole team.
In my shoot, I had shown Natalia so many reference pictures to communicate my concept to her and I thing I had told her in particular is “DO NOT rehearse these poses that you see before the shoot. I want you to use those images just as references for the concept and what we will create on the day of the shoot will be based in the amazing energy we will have that will help us great even something much better”. If you don’t believe me, text me (number in Contact section), and I will send you a screenshot of the Whatsapp convo.
Natalia was amazing to work with. She was excited all through the shoot radiating amazing energy that only made it possible to get so many stunning images.
Always remember the great energy levels between the photographer and the model you are shooting, is the key to achieving beautiful images. In other words, a good model-photographer communication. Remember that the photographer acts as a mirror for the model. The energy you radiate is what is model gives you back. Talk to her before the shoot, tell her you are excited on the beautiful images that you are about create together, tell her give all her energy to create a masterpiece together setting aside all barriersdirect her in changing poses, tell her if the picture came out good, tell her that she looked stunning in that pose.
These are some tricks I use during my photo sessions.
Share your experiences with me, if these changed how you shoot and the images you create.