The final word
Adapting the light to suit the scene is a challenge Joe really enjoys…
Joe explores ways to make one light match the mood of a scene on a fashion shoot
The light needs to match the scene you’re shooting. And, in the realm of fashion, it should also help to create the feel of the picture. It needs to fit in with the surroundings and the time of day, complement the palette of the wardrobe and match the projected mood of the model, be it exuberant or sultry. Those are good things to remember on location, especially as unique a location as Peru. It is a place of wonderful colour and a sense of adventure, perfectly matched to my assignment camera, the Nikon D810, which has resolution to burn and a colour response as vibrant as the culture I was photographing.
In the small pic, the available light is harsh. We were on a schedule, with no room to come back for late light. Plus, later on, the pelicans wouldn’t be there. There were gaggles of them around the dock ’cause the fishing boats were coming in.
So, go for it. Wilson, our intrepid driver, gathered a bucket of fish and stood off camera, pitching them at the model’s feet. Fefa, our model, kept laughing and concentrating on the camera, despite being surrounded by prehistoric birds. Jon Cospito, from our crew, was standing to camera left, behind a pillar, holding a Profoto B-1 at full power, blasting Fefa with light in the same manner as the sun was doing. Shot at 1/250 sec, f/13, ISO100, using a Nikon 70200mm f/2.8 zoom. I went with normal sync and a chunky f-stop as I wanted the birds to stay sharp. Great expressions from Fefa! Just add fish! Thank you Wilson!
At dawn on the previous day, the light had been milky and mild. The scene was a deserted beach with an abandoned boat. The model was in an evening gown, and coiffed and made up like she was going to a ball. Sumptuous colour and the smokey look of the lovely Claudia ruled the scene. If I had blasted this with a hard light, it would have been fair to have brought me up on charges and have a judge issue an order for me to stay away from flash for six months.
It was time for a B-1 into a five-foot Octa softbox, off to camera left. Smooth light. Mood light. The source was run up fairly high on an Avenger C-stand so it didn’t spill overmuch on the ground. Shot at 1/200 sec, f/9, ISO100.
It’s easy to get entranced when you have a model giving you lovely expression after lovely expression. You can find yourself clicking away endlessly and becoming rooted behind the camera. It’s easy to relax and become static, mentally and physically. You’ve got to move around.
And so we moved to the other end of the boat, with a Nikon 200-500mm zoom lens, and worked with the compression of the long glass, as opposed to the wide sweep of sky and beach the 20mm lens gave.
Varied images. But in each instance it’s one light, one camera, one lens. (And, because the camera is a D810, lots and lots of pixels.)
In each instance it’s one light, one camera, one lens. (And, because the camera is a D810, lots and lots of pixels.)