Lighting for dynamic effect on Location


Adam Torres of Lake Mary high school poses for a photo on the roof of the Orlando Sentinel during Varsity Media Day in Orlando, FLA. on Saturday August 17, 2013. (Joshua C. Cruey/Orlando Sentinel)

Adam Torres of Lake Mary high school poses for a photo on the roof of the Orlando Sentinel during Varsity Media Day in Orlando, FLA. on Saturday August 17, 2013. (Joshua C. Cruey/Orlando Sentinel)

Every year on assignment for the Orlando Sentinel, I am tasked with taking portraits of the area’s top football prospects. It is a challenge, to keep things creative and interesting year to year, as time constraints dictate an assembly line approach. After shooting portraits on a plain black backdrop with edgy lighting previous years, I arranged to shoot the portraits on the roof in the mid-day sun this year. My idea was to frame the athletes against the buildings of the Orlando skyline and a dark blue sky.

To achieve this, I used a circular polarizing filter to saturate and darken the sky. To achieve the look I was aiming for, I set the exposure 1 stop under what the light meter indicated for the sky (1/200 sec F/14). Once I had my exposure I then setup three mono-lights. Two broncolor minicom 80 mono lights were setup at 45 degrees rear angle from the athlete using the standard reflector and a 10 degree grid at almost full power. This created a strong rim light. A third Alien Bees 1600 mono-light was setup with a 48″ silver umbrella behind me pointed directly at the athlete to give a nice fill light and round out the exposure of the ambient and rim lighting.

Ambient exposure

In the next frame you can see the full exposure.

Garrett Johnson of West Orange high school poses for a photo on the roof of the Orlando Sentinel during Varsity Media Day in Orlando, FLA. on Saturday August 17, 2013. (Joshua C. Cruey/Orlando Sentinel)

Garrett Johnson of West Orange high school poses for a photo on the roof of the Orlando Sentinel during Varsity Media Day in Orlando, FLA. on Saturday August 17, 2013. (Joshua C. Cruey/Orlando Sentinel)

 

Although mid-day is usually not an ideal time of day to shoot portraits, with a little planning and creativity you can use the light to your advantage for dynamic effect.

Joshua Cruey


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