A rather boring article about how I lit a portrait on location last week.
I was shooting some executives at an industrial company here in Austin last week and the client let me know that there were one or two execs in other cities who would also need to be shot. They weren't going to budget for me flying out of state just to do one or two head shots so they asked if I would document the set up and be willing to share the information with photographers with which they have relationships in the other cities. Of course. I'll share just about anything.
It's pretty standard lighting. In a nutshell it's a big soft light from the left, a big white reflector from the right, a gridded flash on the light gray background and a small flash in a small softbox from the back of the set. The image I chose to use as an example doesn't have the backlight added in. Sorry. You'll just have to imagine it.
Softlighter 2 60 inch umbrella with it's diffusion "sock" on the front. It's hooked up to a 1200 watt second Elinchrom Ranger RX AS pack but it's on the low power tap and set to a fairly low setting. Though the wide angle lens I've used to make this image distorts the size/distance relations the light is really right next to the chair. Almost touching it. The camera is a Canon 5dmk2 and I'm using the 70-200 f4 L lens at around 135mm as my taking lens.
Lastolite pop up target to set custom white balances with. I like this Will Crockett version because it has a target to focus on.
I use an incident light meter to meter every light source and get them all in the right target zone. I base my whole exposure around f5.6. I fine tune it for each person.
Vivitar 383 df used in the slave mode. I like them because in the slave mode they are triggered by an optical slave and the setting overrides the auto shutoff. Since the light is basically direct it only takes 1/4 power to give me the spot I want. The box on the front is from Speedlight Prokit. It's a multi-purpose little light modifier. You can use a grid on the front or a softbox style diffuser. It's a pretty good accessory for taking the edge off direct light and softening out the edges. With a grid in place the fall off is very pleasing.
I like the Elinchrom and I also like the Profoto battery units. It's nice when you are in a big setting not to have cables running to distant sockets. And at the low power settings I was using that particular pack is good for several thousand flashes.
We set up starting at 8:00am and finished testing the set up at 8:35am. My first of ten portrait subjects, the COO, arrived right at 9am. We finished our last shot just in time for lunch. My default for delivered food on industrial shoots is usually Jason's Deli. I order the quarter Muffaletta. Good stuff.
After a "walking lunch" I broke down this set up and we proceeded to our afternoon shoots around the factory using mostly available light and a good tripod.
So, what constitutes a good tripod? That's coming up.