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These shots don't take a lot of equipment, really...

M38A1

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Nov 28, 2006
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19,397
Location
North of Weird
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Scott
Today's shoot was a power lifter who could have not been 100lbs and 5-foot-nothing. We were under IH35 about 300m South of the Slaughter Creek Overpass. There's two lanes plus shoulders in each direction above us, so LOTS of columns to play with.

Like the title says, shooting these kinds of shots really doesn't require much gear or prep. Here we have a light stand, a cheapie 24x36 softbox, a speedlight and a set of inexpensive CactusV triggers along with a road over us with a pretty subject. (yeah, you need a camera and lens...)

The softbox was about 10-12 feet from her, 1/4 power. Camera settings were ISO400, f/6.7 and 1/125th sec shutter. I had the 24-70mm on and this was 48mm or about what the eye sees in real life.
i-bpqdjjW-XL.jpg


Eric was shooting for this one and using a 70-200 at f/2.8 to get a really really, really shallow DOF. His shot was awesome, and here you get an idea of distances.
i-kz8STRL-XL.jpg


This was a single light shot, same basic setup but using the columns a bit differently. ISO400, f/5.8 and 1/180th sec shutter and 70mm. I liked the symmetry of the background for this one. Softbox is camera right.
i-HTHf2hf-XL.jpg


Don't get too wigged out about settings. Just keep in mind this simple rule:

"Expose for ambient as you want, then flash your subject"

Let's break that down.
"Expose for ambient as you want..." simply means get the exposure down for the ambient light as you want to portray it in the image. Don't worry about your model yet. Want it darker? Then drop the ISO or make the shutter speed faster, or stop down the glass a bit. Each has an effect on the final image however. Like shutterspeed and flash sync can trip you up a little if you're at the 1/200 or whatever your camera limits are and you want darker. Or stopping down might move you away from wanting an uber-shallow DOF. It's a balancing act.

"...then flash your subject"
Once you get your ambient to where you want it, then bring in your flash and adjust the power output (in Manual mode on the speedlight) to where you want it. I used to eyeball the power based on the results I saw in the camera display image, yet of late I've been using a light meter. Today I did not use a light meter.

There's all sorts of lights and shaping tools out there. Bare speedlights, umbrellas (shoot through and reflective), soft boxes, and so forth. They all basically do the same thing but a bit differently. I like the 24x36 softbox for this kind of work as it's got a grid inside which directs the light and allows a little more control over where the light goes. There were no reflectors, white or black cards used. Just this one light source and natural light.

That's about it.


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