Saturday, 27 September 2008

A little splash of colour

Often on a location shoot the location isn't everything you'd hope for. It might be absolutely beautiful, with ornate backgrounds, but painted a yuck colour of brown. It might even be a beautiful colour, but ridiculously dark. Either way, it's not just the model you need to think about lighting, but that background as well.

I did a shoot in a bar/restaurant recently which was one of the former - beautifully ornate, stunning location, but dark and dull. There was a balcony area, for example, which had amazing pillars and ornate metal work. The background was tiles which isn't all that bad (nice smooth undistracting background), but it was a sickly coloured green of all colours. There were four dull lights from above giving light in the corridor that the balcony is part of. There was nowhere near enough light to do the shot without flash, and even lit, the sickly green wasn't going to be making any nice shots. Cue the gel filters!

The following is a setup shot for the first set of shots I did with the balcony.

You can see it's a two light setup. I used a yellow gel on a 550EX (equivalent to the Canon 580EX II) which really warmed up that horrible coloured tiling. You can see on the left hand side what the tiles actually looked like. The second flash is a snooted 550EX (equivalent to the Canon 580EX II) fired from the opposite side of the room from the balcony about 6-8 metres away, to provide light on the face of the model. Thanks to Mike for being such a stunning model for this one!

Unfortunately, this young lady kicked him off the balcony for the actual shots.

Another model? Want another style? It's as easy as swapping the coloured gel on the background 550EX flash (equivalent to the Canon 580EX II). 10 secs to change!

Here's another two light setup from the same shoot. This time it was a grand piano which we planned to have the model perch on for some shots. In behind was some remarkable objects attached to the wall. Haven't a clue what they were, but they weren't all that pretty. Jammed in a blue gel on the background light though, and instantly they took on a whole new feel.

Here's one of the shots from this set.

Again, a change of feel to the shots is as easy as a gel filter change!

It's a comforting feeling to know you have the option of turning up at a location, and almost no matter how ugly or dark it is, you can bring new life to a background with a great big splash of colour.


Michael said...

Hey Mike here =)

Thanks for the wee mention. Working with you was definitely educational. I'd read part some of the strobist articles but it's one thing reading the theory and seeing how it works in practice.

Thanks again and love the blog!

n506 said...

Hi Mike!

Was great shooting with you and Louise. A good laugh, and good fun lighting that place. I could light that location every day for a month and still be having fun!