This last weekend I was fortunate enough to teach a Portrait Lighting workshop at PROCAM in Livonia.
I used this studio setup in order to teach lighting placement. We went over Split, Short, Broad, Butterfly, Modified Butterfly, Rembrandt, and Broad Rembrandt lighting in many different face positions. The main light for this studio portrait was the Westcott TD6 with their new shallow soft box. I folded over the diffuser on itself to create a more natural 2 stop falloff from the face (Raw light on top, two layers of diffuser in the middle, and three layers on the bottom). Take a closer look at where the main light is aiming now. This is a technique called feathering, which is the process of aiming the light past center. The two hairlights have a grid in order to direct the light more accurately and to stop lens flare. The last addition was the white reflector which gave us more details in the shadows.
After walking the students through all the different techniques, I let them try it out for themselves.
Everyone really enjoyed the portrait session but what I saw the students get really excited over were the FLIXELs. For those of you that don’t know, Flixel is a new software program that just won the Apple best design award. Basically what the software does is let you take a video and mask out a single part of the video you want to freeze, thus creating a moving image! As a class demonstration I decided to make her scarf blow in the wind (Using my Bowens Wind Machine which was controlled by none other than the President of Westcott, Kelly Mondora ). I lit this aviator with two Westcott Ice Lights in the front. For the hairlight I used two more Ice Lights but I kept them to one side in order to be more accurate with the backdrop. We separated her from the background using two Westcott Skylux’s on floor stands. Check out the final video below.
Click the image to view more of my flixels!
If you attend one of my workshops there’s a chance to win some cool software for free. I can’t give it out for free online but I don’t have a problem helping everyone out with a promotional code. If you give the code elitefoto when purchasing your copy of Flixel you will receive a 10% discount on the software.
After the airplane we moved on to a bridge scene. I’m a big advocate of constant lighting. Think about how much more difficult it would have been to have strobes instead. I would have to let each student come up to the front individually and sync up with a power pack in order to shoot. It would also be a lot more difficult to show the class how to light a subject if there was no light on them.
And then I took the students outside to show them the difference between shooting on the North and South side of your scene. In our case, this building.
An umbrella is a great tool for making dramatic lighting out in the sun
Reflector placement is more critical than most people think. Make sure you’ve got it in the right spot.
Overall a great workshop with a lot of really nice and eager students. If you have any interest in taking my next workshop sponsored by both Westcott and Canon, I will be back at PROCAM on Saturday November 15th. I hope to see some new and familiar faces out there!
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