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Creative Studio Lighting: Constant, Strobe Mix “Dress on Fire’
Light gives you such control in the studio. You have the control to flatter your subject, set the mood, and even create ‘special effects’. When I first began photography I spent years trying to master traditional lighting including my desire to really understand the direction of light, quality of light, and how to flatter my subject. Eventually, however, I wanted to get a bit  more creative and advanced.

Seeking to take my lighting up a notch, I start to research advanced tutorials or creative lighting and I really didn’t find very much.

This is why I’ve spent the last several months to create my brand new ebook, The Creative Studio Lighting Guide with 30 creative studio setups. Whether you have one light, 4 lights, or unusual modifiers, it is going to help introduce you to entirely new worlds in the studio.

For this article I’d like to share one of the lighting setups you can find in this guide, and how mixing constant light and studio strobes can create stunning results. This setup is in the sample section of the guide that has 5 completely free creative lighting tutorials to get you started on your path to creativity in the studio!

Lighting Gear Used:

  • 2 Profoto D1 Air 500 Watt
  • Light 1 –  Profoto Softlight Reflector (beauty dish) + Grid
  • Light 2 –  Profoto zoom reflector with barn doors + gels (modeling light only)

Other Gear Used:

  • Rosco gel kit
  • Avenger D600 mini boom arm

Distance of Subject to Background:

  • Not Applicable

 

SETUP

Light 1:

  • Distance from subject: 32 inches
  • Distance off center: 9 inches
  • Height above eye level: 12 inches
  • Power (Fstops): F/9

Light 2:

  • Distance from subject: 52 inches
  • Distance off center: 20 inches
  • Height above floor: 24 inches
  • Power (Fstops): F/3.5

Camera Gear & Settings:

  • Camera: Canon 5D III
  • Lens: Canon 24-70mm 2.8 II at 24mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter Speed: 1/4 sec
  • Aperture: F/9
  • WB: Flash

Diagram

The goal of this studio lighting setup is to infuse energy and motion into the frame by mixing one constant light, one studio strobe and a long exposure. The end result will help this dress and the scene to come to life, making the dress appear as if on fire!

Let’s take a look step-by-step at considerations for building this two-light setup filled with movement and drama!

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Step 1:
You’ll want to begin by completely removing all ambient light in the shooting space. Be sure no light is coming through the windows and that overhead lights are turned off. This will affect the look of the final photograph.

Step 2:
Next, you’ll start with your main light. Place a strobe with a beauty dish with a grid as the main light illuminating your subject’s face. The beauty dish will create crisp but glowing light on the face. The grid will focus the light primarily around the subject’s face and torso.

As you can see in this image, by adding the grid the entire lower half of her body is completely in shadow. Since grids focus light and create more rapid fall-off of light, this is going to be perfect for adding the next element of the scene.

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Step 3:
Next, you need to add a second light pointed at the lower half of the subject’s body. For this light you will turn OFF the strobe capabilities and only use the modeling light. Here I have used a zoom reflector with barn doors and a red gel for creative effects. This light will be used to illuminate the dress, and I use the barn doors to make sure this light does not hit the subject’s face. This is one of the benefits of placing gels on barn doors: you can control the spill of light more precisely.

Now that the strobe capabilities are turned off and the ambient light in the room is eliminated, be sure the modeling light of this second light is turned up to its fullest power.

If you take a photograph while shooting at a ‘normal’ studio shutter speed (around 1/200 sec) you will see almost no light added to the bottom of the dress. This is because your exposure does not let in enough ambient light to record the color of the dress. In the next step, we will change this.

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Step 4:
In order to achieve see color/detail on the bottom of the dress, you will need to use a long shutter speed (aka ‘dragging the shutter’) to allow the background light to register in your exposure.

By using a longer shutter speed, in this case 1/4sec or 1/8sec, you leave the shutter open long enough to pick up the light from the modeling light.

With the longer exposure in this image you can see the red illumination registering on the bottom of the dress.

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Step 5:
Now is the time to get creative in this shot. Because of the long exposure, you now have the opportunity to add movement to your scene. In these examples I have thrown the dress in the air to create movement in the frame that registers through the long exposure. The moving fabric combined with the red gel results in a fiery appearance for the dress. Also try zooming your lens in or out, moving your camera left and right, or physically moving your body in and out during the long exposure. Each will produce different creative results.

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Tip:
Once you get all your settings right, you may want to turn off the modeling light on the beauty dish. During the long exposure the constant light from the modeling light may register on the subject’s face and create unwanted motion blur.

One thing to keep in mind for this shoot is that the subject’s wardrobe choice will make an impact on the final image. The subject will need to be wearing a clothing/items to pick up the light from the constant light (modeling light). In this case a shimmery dress is perfect for the effect. You’ll want to avoid dark colors or matte fabrics. Sequins, light colored clothing, or anything that shimmers will best showcase this effect.

Takeaways:

Final-1

By combining the constant light of a modeling light, a studio strobe, and a long exposure you can create truly striking and creative studio results. By dragging your shutter you are able to move your camera and/or subject to create interesting blurs and shimmers to your images that open up endless creative opportunities with just two light sources.

BTS1 BTS2

If you’d like to see more from my Creative Studio Lighting Guide, definitely check out the link to download 5 FREE setups or check out the full guide of 30 creative studio setups available at http://learn.lindsayadlerphotography.com/creative-studio-lighting-guide.

You can see more of Lindsay’s work at LindsayAdlerPhotography.com, and follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. You can also see her live in Las Vegas at Photoshop World from July 18-21!

Hi Gang: Happy Monday, and I thought we’d kick this week off with a quick look at some social media stuff for photographers:

Blurred girl holding a piece of paper with the word Please in front of her.

(1) Twitter finally stops penalizing us for using photos
I wrote a post about this problem back in December — begging Twitter to step penalizing us for attaching a photo by taking away characters from our 140-character limit. Well, they recently announced that they are lifting that penalty and now we can add a photo and still have our full 140-character limit. They haven’t given a firm date for this yet, just that we should expect it “…over the coming months” (you can read their announcement here). Now, if we could just get one 10-character hashtag added on to that 140-character limit… ;-)

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(2) Instagram’s new algorithm goes live
So far, I haven’t noticed a difference as it’s only been live a few days now, but the order you’ll see things in your feed might be slightly different (here’s a good article on the new rollout this week from TechCrunch). So far I haven’t noticed a big difference, and I haven’t really talked to anyone who says there’s something noticeable under the new scheme, so….so far so good, but posts are no longer in the chronological order we’re used to seeing.

By the way — a big thanks to everyone following me over on Instagram — I’m coming up on 75,000 followers, and I’m really enjoying the very friendly community of sharing there (I think it’s the friendliest of the social sites by far).

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(3) You’re probably missing most of my posts on Facebook
Facebook picks and chooses which posts you see, even if you’ve chosen to follow someone — they choose whether you see that person’s posts or not. That’s especially true for people like me with a Facebook Brand page. I have nearly 190,000 people following me, but only a small percentage ever see my posts UNLESS I actually pay to have them boosted. Then Facebook shows them to more people.

Facebook uses a computer algorithm to sense if what a user is posting might possibly be an ad or promotion (right or wrong, and it’s often wrong), and instead of showing my post to the 190,000 people who have asked to follow me, instead it will literally show it to just 230 or so people. Ugh. That’s why so many people miss my calls for submissions for The Grid’s Blind Photo critiques, or when we do a free Webcast or if I give away free copies of my book, or free tickets to my seminars. They simply don’t ever see them. If I don’t pay to boost them, Facebook makes sure virtually nobody sees them. However, if you want to see these types of things from me, you can request to see all my (or any users) posts. Here’s how:

fbprefs

On your Facebook page – go to your Newsfeed Preferences and choose which of the pages you follow that you want to see all their posts (as shown above). That’s it. :)

incono

Iconosquare (stats for Instagram) goes Pro!
I’ve been raving about the online service Iconosquare, which is a site that helps you grow your Instagram audience by helping you determine everything from the best day and time to post, to which type of posts get the most engagement, and so on. Really amazing stats and incredibly useful. Anyway, they’ve just upgraded their service to Iconosquare Pro, and if you haven’t looked at them in a while, it’s worth checking out. Here’s the link.

Hope you found that helpful.

I’m off to Orlando tomorrow…
…for my seminar. I hope I’ll be seeing you there! (it’s not too late if you want to come out and spend the day with me). Next stop, Ft. Lauderdale on Thursday.

Have a good one. :)

-Scott

7days1

Pack your bags – we’re going to Vegas (but you might as well save $100 by getting your tickets before June 10th, when the early-bird discount expires).

But before you do anything, watch this video (below), and then we’ll talk after (it’s two minutes – you’ll dig it).

OK, thanks for stayin’ with me. OK, here’s the deal:

It’s regularly $799 for a full conference pass BUT if you register in the next seven days, it’s only…

$699…BUT….

If you’re a KelbyOne member, you save another $100, so it’s only…

$599. Legit.

OK, call your friends – get a group together – pack your bags, and I’ll see you in Vegas July 19-21st. It’s going to be (wait for it…wait for it…) legendary (bet you thought I was going to say epic).

Have a great weekend every body. :)

Best,

-Scott

P.S. You can still get special discount room rates at our official host hotel for the conference, the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. 

BRAD_NOTC_Blog_05.18.16_HomeIntoStudio2

Transform Your Home into a Professional Photography Studio, Part 2
Join Rick Sammon for part 2 of his series on how to transform your home into a professional photography studio! Building on his previous class, Rick takes it to the next level by bringing in more advanced accessories, more advanced lighting techniques, and a professional model to show you a whole new set of tips and techniques that are easy to replicate. You’ll be surprised to see that without spending a lot of money or time, you can channel your energy and creativity into getting studio quality results in your own home. In each lesson Rick discusses the gear you’ll need, how to set it up, how to work with your subject, and then shows you how to get the shot.

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Build a Stunning Website in Minutes with Adobe Portfolio
Did you know you can have a beautiful, professionally-designed online portfolio up and running tonight for free, if you subscribe to any of Adobe’s Creative Cloud plans, including the Photographers Bundle plan? It’s called “Adobe Portfolio” and it’s included in your Creative Cloud subscription and this course, by Scott Kelby, is designed to take you, step-by-step through the simple process of getting your portfolio up and running right away. You’ll be amazed at how full featured Adobe Portfolio is, and how easy it is to pick your template, upload your images, customize your layout, and share it online. It’s way better than you’d think.

Raymond Osborne E-4 Military Police 1985 - 1992 Veterans Portrait Project Pleasanton, California

Mentorship is Invaluable
I’ve known photographers who hold their cards very close to their chest for fear of showing their proverbial hand. I’m not sure why they’re fearful. After all, you can teach someone a technique and they will not produce the exact same picture implementing those techniques. You see the technique may be replicated, the art and vision cannot. That’s solely distinct from one individual photographer to another.

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On the other hand, I’ve met photographers who pass it on freely without any expectation of return. In fact, I’ve been the recipient of such mentorship. That’s why I’d say I fall into the latter group. In my mind, there’s no harm in it. Some may argue that I’m grooming competition that could take food from my table. That’s a valid point, but I’m unafraid. I’m secure enough in my abilities to share with others without fear they’ll overtake me. I am who I am. They are who they are. Besides, I’d be very proud if they became uber-successful. That’s just another form of accomplishment – to have impacted someone’s life so greatly would be an honor. There’s also the old adage that healthy competition brings out the best work in all of us!Pearsall_Image-004 Pearsall_Image-005

To that end, I don’t view it as creating competition. Rather, I’m giving back to my profession. That’s why mentoring others is so important to me, and I do it in many ways. I’m listed as a mentor with the National Press Photographers Association, and I’ve written books and blogs, and I do podcasts, webcasts and public speaking. I talk to middle school, high school and college level students and teach professional photography workshops. Any way I can help, I try.

Over the last 15 years, I’ve developed many fun, unique ways to mentor and teach. I’ve had middle and high school photography student internships, college internships, first assistant opportunities for newly graduated photographers and more. There’s something to be said about improving yourself by cultivating others.

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Most recently I’ve used my program, the Veterans Portrait Project, as a learning tool. With the support of Nikon Professional Services, we provided Nikon DSLR cameras to 66 Raritan High School digital photography students so they could learn how to take studio portraits. For two days, we taught the art of portrait photography, how to communicate with strangers, types of lighting techniques, posing and exposure fundamentals. On the third day, the class culminated with a Veterans Portrait Project event where the students stood shoulder-to-shoulder with me and took portraits of local-area veterans. It was amazing to see how much the young students flourished behind the camera, and in front of our eyes. It was a huge success. Check out some of students’ work. I think you’ll be equally impressed.


At this point, you may be asking what’s the purpose of this post. This is my attempt at inspiring you to take someone under your wing, and be a mentor too. It’s also my round-a-bout way of saying we’re all responsible for the future of photography and we should all be contributing to its success. Whether photography is old-hat to you or you’re new to the game, you’ve got something to offer someone. Let’s be open, ready to share and inspire each other. Let’s flourish in this art together. See you at Photoshop World 2016!

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You can see more of Stacy’s work at StacyPearsall.com, and follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. You can also see her live at Photoshop World where she’ll be teaching her class Combat From Behind The Camera!

Happy Tuesday, everybody! It’s a happy Tuesday because I’m stickin’ a fork in this series because I think both of us (you, and me) have had about enough of this series. It sounded like a good idea at first, but after 7 posts and a combined total of just 10 comments between all of them (so, an average of 1.43 comments per post), I figured it’s time to bail on this fairly lame idea, so I put the final three all in this one video.

This last one is actually better than it sounds, ’cause I’ve got three good little things in there, but if history is an indication, it will raise a collective yawn, and perhaps 1.43 comments, so…..here’s the video.

OK, now we can put that behind us, and enjoy a wonderful Guest Blog Wednesday tomorrow from the awesome Stacy Pearsall.

Have a great Tuesday folks!

-Scott

P.S. Next week I’m in Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale with my seminar. Ya’ll come out. :)

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