Gear can make all the difference.
But it took a while before I realized I could get by if I only thought carefully about my approach when it comes to portraiture.
One Speedlite used off-camera can give good results.
The key is not to over light.
During a demo for my “Moving from Snapshots to Portraiture” workshop at the Riverside Art Museum, I used the Art Alliance Gallery to illustrate this point.
Of course it helps to have a pretty model like Jessica Neblina.
Here’s how I approached this:
- I wanted to use the graphical elements of the window in the gallery but not show any other detail. So I intentionally underexposed the scene shooting with my 50mm lens. My exposure of ISO 200 1/180 sec @f2 gave me the picture below.
I used my Cowboy studio boom and attached my 1 Canon 600-EX-RT Speedlite which I fitted with a Honl grid. I raised it over Jessica’s head and aimed it at her face making sure the light fell off without lighting the rest of the scene. The Speedlite was set at 1/16th since it was fairly close. Notice the shadow behind Jessica on the floor? That was hard to avoid because the surface of the floor is very shiny and reflective. It was simple touch up to darken in post using Lightroom.
Light modifiers for us photographers are tools much like different size brushes to artists who paint.
Too much light spill on the background and immediately we lose the dark shadows and the picture frames hanging on the wall between between the windows become apparent and a distraction ruining the graphical element.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money on light modifiers. You can make your own snoot.