Cover Shoot - Super Simple Lighting Set-Up
I recently shot some promotional photos for actor and model Sabastian Neudeck in a Tarzan theme. After Apollo picked up the images for the cover, I received a lot of questions about my set up. A lot of people assume this was in a studio or done with all sorts of expensive things, but it couldn't be farther from the truth. Before we get too deep into the how-to, this is the image on the cover.
As I set out to photograph this session, I knew I wanted a darker cinematic look. There are plenty of ways to achieve that but this is how I did it. It gave me just enough light to keep some mystery to his surroundings and just enough to play the part of a jungle. (Not bad being in the woods of Illinois)
So my gear consisted of the following:
-Neewer octobox (Not made for this strobe, the wind broke my other light)
That's it. Camera, Lens, Light, Triggers.
I found a spot that would be leafy and have some shade. This allowed my to control the light even better. Here is a similar BTS shot with no flash.
and now the same image from the same spot using the flashpoint...
As you can see, the light hit enough of the surrounding area to show it, but not show that we were just tucked up next to a rock. The surface of the rock bounced enough light back to cause a gritty look and that is exactly what we were aiming for.
So for the images on the cover...
The light was roughly 2 feet higher than the models head angled 30-40 degrees towards him. I wanted light on his face to be very clear, but his legs to look darker. The light is about 7-10 feet from him in terms of distance. This allows the shadows to be softer and to hit some of the surrounding areas, but not all.
Flash power was set at 1/16, but don't focus too much on this as it will be relevant to your available light on how strong you want your flash.
I shot these with apertures of 5.6 and 7.1. These settings allowed me to get the background sharp and to kill any other ambient light that was out. If I wanted a shallower depth of field, I could have put on a ND filter and went to 2.8 if that was the look I wanted or if you wanted to you could.
-Position the light far enough away from your subject with enough power to light them and a small portion of surroundings.
-Shoot at a narrow enough aperture to kill ambient light. This is usually 5.6 -f16 depending on how bright it is outside. You can shoot at 2.8, but will need an ND filter to get the dramatic effect.
-Position light so it looks as if it would be from a natural light source, such as sun.
-Practice, practice, practice.
More images from this shoot will be available at apollogt.com in their winter issue.
Thank you for checking it out!