Thinking about lighting today. Something about sunny days in Spring.

I have one simple lighting design that I use a lot on sunny days. Today is our first sunny day in a while so I thought I'd share an image I did of Emily a while back. We wanted to shoot an image of her toting her bike, along with some other triathlete imagery so we went to the lake and found some nice foliage in the background.

It was full sun and in most cases like this the full sun combined with electronic flash always seems to give me too much fill. I generally put up a 6x6 foot diffusion scrim like the one you see above. It's anchored to two light stands and the connections that hold the scrim to the stand are also wrapped with gaffer's tape to keep them from coming apart in the breeze. 

The scrim is in a position to block almost all of the sunlight striking Emily. We've positioned it to provide a small amount of backlit on Emily's head. Probably just a bit too much....  But we were having too much fun and no one wanted to walk back a mile or so to the car and get a second, smaller, weaker diffusion scrim to finesse the highlight. 

I like to light this way because I can use a big, soft umbrella modifier for the main light and get the highlights to roll off into the shadow areas exactly how I want them to. The main light was a single Profoto Acute B head running off a battery powered Acute 600B generator. The extra power of the Profoto rig allowed me to place the main light exactly where I wanted it (not too close and not too far away) and get exactly the effect I wanted. 

It's just a fun photo and not a big deal but I thought it would be fun to show an actual set up for a change....


  1. Nice. Thanks for sharing the setup.

  2. Thanks for showing this. Please, share more if you'd like.

  3. From your location picture the scene was clearly outdoors, but the portrait does rather scream studio-set, having at least two lights and then perhaps using a projection for the background.

    The two directions of lighting make the portrait jump out as "lit" and the different light levels between foreground and background add to that studio feel. That doesn't mean the portrait is unpleasant, but it is clearly unnatural which feels odd to me with such a fit and natural subject.

    Would it have worked using a reflector, say another scrim, for fill instead of the flash? Possibly I'm allergic to outdoor flash, my apologies.


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