So the other day, I found some old gear and brought it out to do some test shots. Since my boy was around, he was the perfect test subject to test some different lighting setups. Went with a simple White Lightning X1600 with a PCB Large Octobox.
It's been awhile since I shot strobes outside and I wanted to try a few with the sun as a rim and kicker light. I didn't have my trusty Sekonic L358 light meter on me so I had to eye ball the exposure and the light separation from the strobe to the sun. I set the ISO to 200, shutter speed to 1/200th, f/8 and shot the strobe at full power. I did have a 82mm Marumi Circular Polarizer on the Canon 24-70mm 2.8 Mark II I was using. Typically polarizers stop down the exposure about 3 stops. I will explain my setup below.
Started off by setting the strobe just left of camera and the sun was behind and high over my son's right shoulder. I didn't want to overpower the sun too much.... If anything, I was going for ambient to be half stop under the strobe.
The light had a hardware malfunction as the clamping mechanism broke off so the light kept drooping downward. Good thing my model is only 3 feet tall... lol
The shot on the left is a BTS photo of me directing Cal to commit to the shot. I need a nice stern face and that is what he gave me. You can see examples by scrolling down. The other two shots I did with the sun actually behind my left shoulder. You can see in the portrait of him looking straight into the camera that he has apart of his cheek overexposed by direct light. Although this was not an ideal setup for me, I am glad I was able to give it a try. I think it created more shadows by shooting with the sun that high up
This is one of the first shots that I took and I could barely tell if the shot was good or not cause the 1Ds Mark II has such a tiny screen and it has a terrible viewing angle but I like how the light looks in conjunction with the ambient light.
Since this is just for practice, I used a few different editing methods. If it were client work, I would have made all the edits consistent with each other so there would of been a nice flow from image to image. All of these had the sun directly over Cal's right shoulder. When I was outside, I wasn't really feeling the shots but when I got to the computer, they turned out pretty good.
It was burning hot and I wanted the angle of the sun to be lower than it was earlier in the day. So we let 2 hours burn by and got the sun directly behind Calvin. Of the 4 images, can you tell which three were shot with a strobe and which one was ambient only? Go ahead, take a gander
If you guessed the top right, you are right. You can tell that the light on his face is flat (no contrast) and doesn't have a gradient of light running left to right. The light was on the left side of the frame at full power. It was about 1.5 stops brighter than the ambient so that is why the background is darker than the one without the strobe.
Although most portrait photographers don't like to shoot mid day cause it creates the harshest shadows, I think shooting high noon adds a certain character and mood that you don't see in late afternoon shots.
I hope to utilize a few strobes on an outdoor shoot with a Fiat 500e electric sometime in the next few weeks. Should be a good one.
Thanks for checking out the blog and make sure to read a few of the other posts I have.