Yesterday was a stupendously busy day at the studio with back to back shoots most of the day. Between commercial, head shots and portfolio development for an aspiring model I think I used almost every light and modifier I could lay my hands on.
It made me think back to when I first started taking photographs in a studio, and my almost haphazard approach to lighting, picking up a lighting diagram and turning all the lights on at once, with the resulting frustration of trying to balance everything out. Of course I have learned a lot since then, starting with my key light, and working with just that until I get the desired effect then adding kick, reflectors, flats, hair and background as necessary but keeping it as simple as it needs to be and nothing more.
Sitting with Sam, the Studio Manager at Area 31 after the shoots we were looking at my pile of bags and stands and discussing lighting while he was enthusiastically playing with my fisheye iPhone lens (see below), the more experience I gain the more I understand only the key light is truly needed for the shoot, the rest are herbs and spices to change the flavor.
The moody portraits I love most are invariably very simple set ups, for this purpose I already have a super portable rig of a Phottix 36" shoot through umbrella, speed light bracket, 18" copper pipe to hold the speed light and umbrella at arms length and a couple of Odin triggers, including one of my cameras everything fits within the pockets of my Barbour coat.
Miguel Quiles of SLR Lounge posted this blog with a challenge to shoot with just one light, his results are as beautiful as they are varied, to illustrate this we took the pictures at the beginning of the article of Sam, just a single strobe with a 7" reflector and grid to camera right..about as simple as you can get.
And yes, what happens in the studio...gets posted on the blog. Photo of the author by Sam Tressler of Archai Media