Create Drama

Because you are able to control the angles and output of light, you are able to create dramatic and almost cinematic-looking scenes using artificial light on location. Like lighting on a stage, you can create an intense mood. This is the most common reason I shoot studio or flash on location.

In Figure 10.3, I have created drama by using dramatic angles of light and by underexposing the ambient light. This image was from a high school senior portrait session. The student, who was planning to be a music major in college, wanted theatrical images that showed his passion for music and made him look like a professional.

Figure 10.3

In this image, I underexposed the ambient light by nearly three stops and used two off-camera flashes (one with a softbox attachment) to illuminate the subject and create drama.

Figure 10.3

In this image, I underexposed the ambient light by nearly three stops and used two off-camera flashes (one with a softbox attachment) to illuminate the subject and create drama.

To achieve the element of theatre and professionalism for this picture, we went on location and utilized dramatic light. The subject selected some old train tracks where he wanted to set up and shoot the scene. If I had shot this image with ambient light, the effect would have been nowhere near as dramatic. The colors of the background would not have been as vibrant, and his actions wouldn't have stood out in freeze motion. Figure 10.4 gives you a behind-the-scenes view of this shoot. When doing a "normal" exposure, the scene completely loses its mystery and drama. This behind-the-scenes shots was taken at the same time as the more dramatic final image.

Fashion Photography Behind The Scene

Figure 10.4

To get the effect I wanted in Figure 10.3, I utilized one flash (with softbox) as the main light and another flash as the rim light (from behind). By underexposing the general scene, I was able to create a much moodier image.

Figure 10.4

To get the effect I wanted in Figure 10.3, I utilized one flash (with softbox) as the main light and another flash as the rim light (from behind). By underexposing the general scene, I was able to create a much moodier image.

I utilized two off-camera Canon 580EX flashes for this image. I placed the first light (main light) at a front 45-degree angle to the subject, creating almost Rembrandt lighting on his face. This strobe was on a stand with a softbox light modifier attached, as seen in Figure 10.4. I used this light modifier because I wanted the light to be a bit more broad (illuminate more of the scene) but not be as harsh as the backlight. I placed the second flash just a few feet behind the subject so that it would create a beautiful rim light and dramatic highlight behind him. Because the light was barely visible over his shoulder, it created a starburst effect that added to the drama. When I was shooting, the subject's sister would duck out of the way while holding the flash in place.

When setting my exposure, I put my camera to manual and set my exposure based on the ambient light to start with. I wanted the ambient light to be darker and more dramatic, so I underexposed almost three stops of light. I left the flashes, however, at full power so that they correctly exposed the image. I used ETTL flash and a wireless transmitter to fire the two flashes.

This is a bit of the magic of photography. The beautiful sunset skin was not visible to the naked eye. Only after underexposing the image did the textures and colors of the sky begin to reveal themselves.

Again, the shot shown in Figure 10.3 was nearly the in-camera version. In Photoshop, I did darken the sky a bit more and increase the saturation in the color of the sunset.

Was this article helpful?

+1 0

Post a comment