Introducing my able lighting assistant; Matilda. Since arriving she has helped fine tune a lot of my lighting setups, but there are some comments:
- The reflective properties of her skin are not close to a real person, so while she is useful for testing out ideas, she can’t be used to fine tune lighting and camera settings, just concepts and general practice. Generally I have to bump up settings by about 2-3 stops to get the same light balance on a person.
- Same pose all the time.
- Scares my younger visitors and I get strange looks from the older ones.
- More patience than anyone.
- Doesn’t need to eat.
- Doesn’t complain.
This test was just to get some ideas on window and flash lighting to generate a moody portrait for an upcoming shoot. So I wanted to figure out what generated the look I was after – So I called in Matilda.
Matilda was placed as close to the window as possible, this was a completely overcast day so the light was already very flat, having her this close to the window meant that I would get faster light falloff and the back of her head head, hair would fall into almost complete shadow. I thought that this looked pretty boring so bit of a kicker light at the back should liven the shot up a bit.
A diffuser was hung right beside matilda and an SB910 speedlight was placed about 3 feet away and fired at the top right of the diffuser. Flash speed was adjusted from 1/16 power to 1/128th power to see what I preferred the best. I actually like no flash for the look I am after. Specific flash and lighting settings aren’t useful becuase I will have to change them for the specific location. However, I now have a starting point and I know what I will be doing in principle.
I tried this again with a silver reflector replacing the flash diffuser combination. The effect is shown here. this is by far my personal favourite set up for the look I wanted. I was sure that this could be approximated with a flash so I tried a few times; the result us shown below.
The flash had a CTO gel in order to get closer to the colour temperature of the outdoors. This got closer to the look above, but not close enough.
Setup that was tested for large open window and back kicker.