Location lighting needs: space around your subject

Besides gear, access, light and enough time, photographers also need enough space to do their work.

A recent assignment where I photographed UC Riverside Chancellor Tim White is a good example.

As with many daytime assignments, the kind of day outside can dictate where I get to work.

When I arrived at 8 am, things were not pretty outdoors.

It was raining, drab and cold.

Tinted windows are great for occupants of dwellings because they cut down on extreme glare from the exterior.

For photographers, unless those window panes are neutral, they can change the color temperature of the transmitted light as it comes indoors and introduce White Balance problems.

On this particular morning, available light in the room was a miserable ISO 100 1/5 sec @ f2.8!

It clearly meant, I had to light.

A small space means:

  • little room for light stands, light modifiers like gobos, so less control of the scene
  • the camera lens’ ability to blur out the background is severely impacted since I can’t get the subject far away from the background
  • fewer focal length choices to work with

So I used:

  • 1 Speedlite with my homemade beauty dish
  • 1 Speedlite with a snoot to minimize the indiscriminate scatter of the backlight
  • 1 Oval reflector on a light stand

Throwing another Speedlight into the mix would overwhelm the small space introducing hotspots in the shiny memorabilia in the background.

I had a great time photographing Chancellor White. He was easy-going very much like the persona you see when he appeared on “Undercover Boss”.

Peter Phun Photography

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