May 7, 2013

Putting light in a (very) dark corner

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As is often the case, even proper planning can get thrown out the door on the morning of a shoot.  We had planned to use a nice open spot in a hotel breakfast area for quick portraits of ladies attending the first "Treasure the Moments Tea" put on by the Sharing the Love Foundation in Forney.  I had planned a simple clamshell type setup... beauty light that would work for all of the lovely ladies who would be coming through.

Upon arrival, however, I was told that that space would not be available and we were instead using a boardroom with a giant table that could not be moved, dark wallpaper and carpet, and about four feet of space to both light and provide access to the giant wicker chair we would be posing with.  Hmmmm....

The only real goal was to give the ladies a decent photo to remember the occasion with.  There were also a lot of hats to be used as props, so the light would have to get under those...  just basic portrait stuff, but stuck in a dark corner.

Here is what I worked out..  The space is tighter than it looks.
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The key light is on the right...the big softbox closest to the chair.  The smaller softbox is actually aimed toward the reflector on the left.  It served as fill from the front and the left side, and under the chin.  I added another light (barely visible by the window) as a hair/separation light.

I initially tried to put the smaller softbox on the left side, but there was not enough room to walk past comfortably.  I wasn't sure if we would have anyone with mobility issues or possibly a wheelchair etc.

The view from the chair...
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And, it worked reasonably well I thought...  The dark striped wallpaper was nice as a backdrop, even if the flower arrangement got distracting.  I probably should have removed them from the vase, but decided against it.  Did I mention I have a tendency to break things?

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Tighter shots were generally better.
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This was true with multiple people in the photo as well.  Not only was it a small space, the groovy chair's low seat and wide back and arms made posing around it a bit awkward.
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Lessons learned... when you are stuck against a dark wall, you can bounce a softbox off of a reflector to make it work.  Also, don't be afraid of tight spaces.  It forces closeness in your subjects, which is generally good.

Thanks again to all of the lovely ladies for being great models and letting me be a part of the event!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome blog Don! I learn a lot from you! Would love to just come along on one of your shoots just to learn!