I love photographing people on location with just a few small lights that can go outside at a moments notice. Now, coming from a advertising photography background and at times shooting multiple sets with 8X10 film view camera I have strobes and light modifiers enough to light up an office complex at night and have. My studio has dedicated outlets just for strobe packs.
Sometimes it is necessary to have tens of thousands of watts of light available but regardless of how much power you have it is always about crafting the light and getting the most from your subject. I can’t show the recent cover shot from the Comerica Bank photography yet but using the same portable light system I did this editorial photograph.
I used a single light to make this dramatic portrait Sherry King. Rather than just accepting the soft light created by a cloudy day, I was able to control the light. I could pick the light’s direction and so select the areas of clouds I wanted behind her. The light on her nicely defined her features and clothing. It equalized the brightness of the subject to the brightness of the background so I could keep good rich cloud detail. You can see I purposely let the light fall off quickly at her lower legs to hide the dirt and sticks. Not only does it hide an ugly foreground it gives a solid base to the picture while still showing she was outside. At times, you need to hide ugly details in plain sight and make them work for you.
With my portable lighting kit I can move about without worrying about plug-ins or generators. I can keep in rhythm with my subject and the energy up.
It is all about having and using the right tools at the right time.