Light: Less Can Be More

One of the things I have been constantly working on when it comes to my lighting technique is trying to make my light a lot less noticeable. I am attracted to images that are very well lit, but that’s not what grabs you when you look at the photo. I want viewers to be drawn to my subject in the photo, and not my light.

In the shot above, I was able to pull this off pretty easily. I shot with three flashes set to 1/8th power through a 45″ shoot-through umbrella. I had my light set up at camera right and just a little off-axis. The 45″ umbrella gives me a pretty large light source and the three flashes helped ensure that I filled that umbrella with lots of light, giving it greater volume. I then moved the light in close to get it as soft as possible, and the image above was the result. Now, I underexposed my background my about 1.5 stops because I want my subjects to pop and not get lost in the background.

Some of the currently popular lighting techniques put a lot of emphasis on the light itself and while I love good light, I don’t want people to be distracted by it. I think Joe McNally is a master of this. He can create some really great photos with lots of lights, but his execution is of a such a manner that you don’t notice the lighting. It becomes a part of the photograph.

My challenge to you is to work on your lighting skills over the Holidays and see if you can’t find at a least one or two ways to improve your lighting. (Oh, and I’m not talking about going out and buying more gear either.) Use the gear you have, throw in some homemade modifiers, and create some beautiful images!

I hope everyone has a great weekend. I’m going to be going almost non-stop this weekend with a shoot tonight, and shoot in the morning, and another shoot tomorrow night. I’m going to be shooting tethered, so be on the lookout for a review of SOFORTBILD soon. Have a great day!


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