Tuesday, February 22, 2011
The Location Shoot
Sophisticated light-shaping tools give you complete control over the image while using portable strobes and speedlights
When To Use A Silver UmbrellaUse it when you need greater contrast or for a more efficient throw of light from a powered-down strobe head. However, keep in mind that the silver may add a blue colorcast. For this reason, avoid using a mix of white and silver umbrellas on the same subject, such as a large group portrait.
Another pet peeve: The ribs are visible in the catchlights in the eyes or other reflections. If you don’t want your umbrella to be too obvious, the choice falls to my personal favorite, the Photogenic Eclipse—the only umbrella I know that prevents your lighting from taking a ribbing.
|Photek Softlighter II|
Photoflex has an interesting twist on the umbrella theme: a mighty-morphing umbrella. Seriously, you can alter the shape of the ADH Adjustable Silver Umbrella and the ADW Adjustable White Umbrella from round to oval or square, plus they have a peel-off black outer layer. Another neat twist is Lastolite’s 8-in-1 Umbrella, with enough configurations to help you reinvent your lighting style.
How To Stretch A Small BankSoftboxes, like umbrellas, are optimized to provide their best light within a few feet of the subject. Within limits, you can use a smaller softbox to light a larger area if you position it at a greater distance. However, keep in mind that the resultant light becomes harsher with increasing distance, while increasing the demands on the flash unit. Also, angling the box from a greater height feathers light toward the bottom, which can be compensated with bounce panels, if needed. If you have to move too far back, it may be prudent to switch to an umbrella.
Banks come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but I doubt a starting location photographer is going to want to deal with a five-foot bank. A more realistic approach would be something in the neighborhood of a 2x2-foot box. However, to be practical, this size is best suited as a keylight for head-and-shoulders portraits or as a fill light.
One example of a foldaway bank is the Lastolite Ezybox Softbox (with a wide choice in speed rings; a speed-light version also is available). Other cozy options come from Westcott—and don’t require adapter rings—the umbrella-like round Halo and the rectangular Apollo (the latter also is available in a speedlight kit), and Photek’s Softlighter II, a softbox umbrella that can be adapted for use with studio strobe or speedlight.
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