The fi­nal word

Adapt­ing the light to suit the scene is a chal­lenge Joe re­ally en­joys…

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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!

Softer op­tions

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.)

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