Gavin Forster Photography | Strobist LessonOver the last couple of years i have had the privilege to learn a range of skills...

Strobist LessonOver the last couple of years i have had the privilege to learn a range of skills...

September 27, 2011  •  Leave a Comment


Strobist Lesson


Over the last couple of years i have had the privilege to learn a range of skills with off camera flash from some of the Leeds maestros, namely Steve Gabbett, Neal Lewis and Phil Winterbourne.  The skills i have picked up have allowed me to build my portfolio but also be the focus of many a question from other photographer! 

This week I was asked to run a mini strobist session with some other local photographers and said I would blog the journey through the shots we took and the changes to the light. 

Please don’t take this as a ‘lesson’ as it was very much a hands on session and the shots require a bit more of an explanation than I maybe do here. if you want to learn more about light and off camera flash you have to visit the main man Mr David Hobby at strobist.blogspot.com its actually ironic that I gave this display not 100yrds from when I met Mr Hobby in a bar in Leeds ;-)

Where to begin…..
If anyone is asking what strobism is….in basic terms it is controlling the lighting of a photograph by using small portable flash heads, firing them in a variety of ways.. in this case we were using YoungNuo rf-602 triggers. 

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Image 1:
The starting point for this setup was a simple one that I use to get the basis of any shoot involving flashes. 

Manual mode
f/5.6
SS 1/160
ISO 100
Flash(s) 1/4 power

This will allow you to test out the ambient light and start creating the shot you desire. 

In this first photo you can see that the light is positioned high to the right of the model. it would be nice to say that the settings are perfect and we get the preferred shot first go….but how often will that happen? 


The light in this image is very harsh and gives us a very blown face. there are a number of option to correct this and I will go on to comment on these in due course. this photo does show the type of shadows that are created by a high bare flash (bare being without a modifier). 

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Image 2:
The only difference in this shot is the position of the light. now it is positioned to the right of the model at at head hight. it creates a very different shadow and a different feel to the shot. this lighting is often used to bring out details in multi light setup due to it creating additional shadows across the face. 

if you have a look at the lager version of the file you can see that the shadows on the face don’t make the image amazing, to address this there are a couple of techniques to ‘improve the shot’. In this talk I used a reflector IMAGE 3 and another light source IMAGE 4

When you are first starting out its very much about trial and error. learning how different setups will come out allow you to figure out how to get the shots that you actually want!


Modifiers 
There are a range of light modifiers that can be used to change the way that light comes at the model. As this session was showing a range of these the following images show what changes can be made without changing any settings on the camera:
(please not in some of these images i have included a light at the rear of the model to give the haloing effect. this is only for personal preference)

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Soft Box
This is a silver lined box with a white front that allows the light to bounce around inside giving a much softer light.

There are many people who can describe the benefits of using softboxes better than i can so here are some links ;-)








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Snoot
This is a tube that funnels the light in to a more controlled space. As ouu can see from the image the light is again hard and very bright in the centre but there is significantly less fall off, leading to the cut off on the logo of the hoodie. This modifier is often used to light on specific spot on a shot. 
There are a number of expensive options available but this one was made out of a sturdy Pringles tube and has the desired effect!









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Grid
A grid acts as a closely packed snoot making the control event tighter. As you can see the fall off of light is less and the spot of light smaller. Again their are options for buying grids but this one was made from plastic drinking straws borrowed from a drinking establishment and surrounded in card. 

The effect can be used to great effect and much better than this image shows! there is a considerable loss of light in this shot due to the straws maybe being a little too long ;-)

There are other modifiers like ring flashes and sto-fens but being honest I could go on all day and I’m sure you are bored by now;-)





If you are still interesting in my ramblings here are the final shots of the night that highlight firstly what the difference is to shooting in a ‘corporate lighting style’ ie 2 lights with umbrellas often seen at corporate events…. I’ll leave that one to your thoughts !

2x brollies a better option?


I personally find this a bit flat even thought it could be a bit brighter with the model slightly closer to the lights. 














How would I light it?
Well obviously the question was asked to how would I do it if I was shooting this for a client….well here you go, it maybe not everyone’s choice but I think it brings out the detail and isolates the model. Now should I tell you how this was lit or do you want to figure it out yourselves?


1x Nikon sb-28 at the rear on 1/2 power
1x nissin di-866 - RHS sofboxed






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