Lighting a Set or Scene
Every photographer has their own preferences as to where to place their strobe(s) when setting up a shot. Now although there are no firm rules to this, I would like to introduce you to a simple theory in which “you” can choose what is best for you in every situation.
Start by remembering OCD. Not OCD as in obsessive-compulsive disorder, but instead by O.C.D. – The O’Clock Diagram (or Drawing, Display, Design). With OCD, you can have any number of strobes to illuminate your subject or scene. The goal however isn’t to strictly light your subject, but to actually balance the strobes with whatever ambient light that exists. The true benefit of OCD is apparent in the placement of only a single strobe, in relation to the source(s) of ambient light. This essentially means that one well-placed strobe may be all that you need in many cases.
Here are the Instructions:
* Each number represents a strobe position, including “12” of which might be a ringflash, or a strobe over/under the camera, or a strobe that is on the same point of view as the camera.
* The camera is always represented by the number “12” position.
* The subject is always represented by the dot in the center.
* The number “3”position will always be to the left of the photographer, the number “6” position is always facing the photographer on the opposite side of your subject, while the number “9” position will always be to the right of the photographer.
* The foreground is the area between the camera (“12” position) and the subject (dot). This area is always represented within view of the numbers “9”, “10”, “11”, “12”, “1”, “2”, and “3”.
* The background is the area behind the subject (dot). This area is always represented within the view of numbers “3”, “4”, “5”, “6”, “7”, “8”, and “9”.
¬In this scenario, the sun is at “7 o’clock” while the strobe is at the “11 o’clock” position, placed at a very high 12 ft. height. The ambient reading (of which is always taken first) was ISO 200, 1/250 sec @ f/16. Since the sun is gazing straight into the lens, there is a notable amount of flare. Also, as you might imagine, the front of the subject is therefore cast within a shadow. This gives the strobe the responsibility of illuminating the entire subject from the cameras point of view. The strobe was metered to the exact same reading as the ambient in order to maintain the natural contrast and color that comes with the ambient reading.
The strobe was placed high in order to spread the light wider for a greater angle of coverage. The 15ft. distance of the strobe from the subject also contributes to the spread of light in the overall foreground. I chose a P65 reflector (hard modifier) in order to maintain the same harshness of light and shadow as the sun itself. Moving the light to any other position within the foreground (“2”, “10” or “12” for example) would not impact the shot much differently considering the overall height and angle of the strobe. The P65 is lightweight and easy to handle. Additional choices I might have considered are the P50 at a slightly greater distance or the Mini Satellite for more efficiency and contrast of my subject.
Andre Rowe is the featured speaker at the upcoming Atlanta broncolor/Hasselblad/Sandisk event on June 24th.
Registration is free, please click here!
Andre Rowe Photography