Full body lighting setup. Part 4

By Oleg Ti,   January 20, 2013,   Views: 8790,   Comments:

Original article by photographer Oleg Ti Studio photography lighting setup with softbox and reflectors


Full body lighting setup. Part 4

We continue to create full body lighting setup.  

To soften and widen the light spot, I placed the frost-frame in front of the reflector with a diffusion gel covering the entire frame.

I often use this solution when I need to soften the hard light and blur the border. It is regularly used by filmmakers because they generally use strong lighting, but in the world of photography this isn't so.

I use wide diffusion gels whose width is 122 cm - suitable for the frame I have in the studio. There are larger frames and special fabrics that have the ability to work in strong wind but provide the necessary softness. However, all of this equipment is usually made for location usage and in the studio this size of frame is fine.

In the picture you can see I have used the frost frame at a reduced size, just 1 metre by 1 metre, made specifically for transportation in a car as a standard 122 cm frost-frame does not fit.

In this case, the frost-frame with the diffusion gel has been moved closer to the reflector so you can see just a little change on the spot but nevertheless you can see the different between pictures – the spot has become wider, the border of spot has become softer.


Full body lighting scheme. Part 4

A more significant difference is obtained when I moved the frost-frame away from the reflector. The width of the spot of light on it increases, which means that the diffusion effect would be greater.

It is exactly this attribute that attracts experienced and advanced photographers. Depending on the distance from the reflector and the size of the light spot formed by the honeycomb, as well as the type of diffusion gel you use and the degree of its transparency, we can significantly change the characteristics of light. As in the case of reflection on the walls, this is an excellent tool that allows you to control the hardness of the light. In contrast to the soft box which has a poorly controlled light, this solution provides additional controls. I always recommend this to beginners who want to learn the great technique of studio lighting: in the studio leave only reflectors, flags and frost frames with diffusion gels. At first, you should make a promise not to use softboxes for a month, working on all the creative and commercial shoots only with this set of tools. A month later, hardly anyone would return to using softboxes as the ability to control all the nuances of all the characteristics of the light would be more attractive than the simple, but primitive solutions you get using softboxes.

Here we see that the spot has become more blurred, it's borders expanded, but how it is presented in the beginning of this article is still far from ideal.


Full body lighting setup. Part 4

Wanting to make the spot wider and the borders of it even softer, but not being able to continue to move the frost frame away of the reflector (it will be visible in the picture), I begin to move the reflector away from the frost frame, increasing the spot of light on the diffusion gel, thus diffusing the light on the background more and making the borders of the light spot more blurred.

However, we must not forget that we are able to change not only the distance but also with the size of honeycomb. Usually each manufacturer has a set of honeycomb grids with different diameters of the cell, and sometimes you can even change the transparency of the diffusion gel – the more transparent the gel, the less soft light we get.


Full body lighting setup. Part 4

When I use a reflector to illuminate the grey background, I get a neutral-grey colour. Typically this colour of background looks lifeless and cold. Even for our model, that has an “ivory” coloured body, it looks the same in contrast to a neutral grey background. So to eliminate this, I put the cosmetic gel (184) on the reflector lighting the background. Although it is designed to correct model skin colour (this is a topic for another lesson), I pretty actively use it to colourise the background. Having the skin tones in the spectrum, the background light slightly “warm”, means that it's tone goes well with the model.

If I need to enhance this effect, I can add additional gels, sometimes using three, having already fairly saturated colour in the background, but in our case, given the “paleness” of our model, such a light interference filter is sufficient.


Full body lighting setup. Part 4

So let me analyse the results.

As result of this manipulation we got a nice, balanced image performing all of the tasks:

A. We have got a pattern of soft light on the model.
B. We distributed the light evenly on the model from head to feet.
C. We worked well with the details in the shadows.
D. We covered the background behind the model using focused light ,giving it a nice coloured and blurred style.

Try to repeat this simple, at first glance, scheme, to bring your work with light to automaticity. This time and effort spent on this will pay off with fast, competent and detailed work in combat shooting mode, when you don’t have time to think about the light for hours and where you have lots of another things to pay attention to!

Good luck!


Others parts of this tutorial:

The first part of this tutorial is here: Full Body Lighting setup. Part 1

The second part of this tutorial is here: Full Body Lighting setup. Part 2

The third part of this tutorial is here: Full Body Lighting setup. Part 3 



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