Again, this is location photography with direct light used for impact. I photographed this portrait on the beach at sunset with dramatic clouds in the background, so I wanted to keep the crisp outdoor feel to the picture using direct light. Photographing with direct light can be challenging, but in this case it makes the woman stand out nicely from the powerful background. The portable lighting system I use allows me to adjust to the quickly changing light at sunset and move about without dealing with generators or power cords. This time I used a Canon 5D and Canon EX580. I plan ahead and always think about keeping it simple, so I can concentrate on the picture.
I did this shot for a job but it looks like a real shot of a friend. There is a level of comfort the subject has that speaks to a certain level of intimacy. It’s the emotional connection between the subject and the viewer that I always strife for in my images. In reality, it is a model I had never met before this shoot, being photographed by me, a professional advertising photographer on set, but it looks like two people in a trusting relationship. You know this person, you like this person. The feeling is helped by the unusual angle.
A key element in an advertising photograph, trust.
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.