The fi­nal word

NPhoto - - Contents - Joe McNally WWW.JOEMCNALLY.COM

Joe McNally shows us the beauty por­trait light­ing setup he used to shoot a Ve­gas dance star

Light­ing up is tricky. Too much and it’s spooky, and you might as well be light­ing Freddy

Krueger. Noth­ing wrong with that per se, but gen­er­ally sub­jects don’t hire you to make them look like they’re an ex­tra in Zom­bieland.

But a dash, a light pop, a smooth-as-silk up­ward drift… now that can be quite lovely, and can get you called back.

En­ter the Uplite. It’s been a fea­tured item at Las­to­lite for a while now, but has gone a bit un­no­ticed. I’ve been do­ing some fash­ion of late, and brought it into play as part of our reg­u­lar trav­el­ling kit. It of­fers op­tions to ei­ther bounce the light source down, or push it straight up at the sub­ject. It has dif­fer­ent sources of re­flec­tion, from sil­very to sun­fire, and a wa­ter­proof ‘bot­tle cap’ so you can put the re­flec­tor sur­face down on the ground and not ruin it. This por­trait came from a combo of four Speed­lights, a D5 and the new Nikon 105mm f/1.4, which is one of those lenses that you, when you look at the file, go, “Holy shit.”

The key here is trag­i­cally sim­ple and one of those things I should have thought of be­fore. I keep the metal sup­port sys­tem to­gether and don’t dis­as­sem­ble it to travel. We had al­ways kept it in­tact in the stu­dio, avoid­ing the few min­utes it takes to screw the thing to­gether. But then I sim­ply de­cided to travel with it, all as­sem­bled, with the diffuser/re­flec­tor pieces folded around it. It trav­els great, and the 15-minute set­ting up time on lo­ca­tion is down to about three.

I’m happy to have it in the kit. The light, swirled in with a sim­ple over­head, is quite lovely, and I’ve been hav­ing fun with it. For the won­der­ful Joli Irvine, a Las Ve­gas dancer about to take the stage in Le Reve, the main light is the Ezy­box Hot­shoe Soft Box, with the white in­te­rior. Add a raw back­light, and some ter­rific pos­ing on her part, and you’ve got a beauty por­trait that no one would con­fuse with Night­mare on Elm Street.

A dash, a light pop, a smooth-as-silk up­ward drift…now that can be quite lovely, and can get you called back

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