I am able to use an old but very 'elegant' house for a lingerie shoot and it looks fantastic. It is quite old but has amazing windows that stream the natural light in. It can appear quite dark in some corners and i wanted to ask about lighting.
When doing a shoot in a close room (not that big) what type of lighting do you use? I have access to softboxes and a flash lighting kit. Should i just stick to the natural light? How would I use the lighting (if at all)?
This is my first location shoot, hence the questions.
Sep 11 13 12:33 pm Link
Beaverton, Oregon, US
A 5in1 reflector would probably be best in this situation.
Sep 11 13 12:35 pm Link
Norman, Oklahoma, US
Sep 11 13 12:37 pm Link
I have a reflector so would this be used with just the natural light? Would you go for the gold side or the silver? I know it makes a difference in skin tones but which do you folks prefer?
Sep 11 13 12:38 pm Link
Saint Austell, England, United Kingdom
As mentioned above, a fairly big reflector could do nicely.
I guess it depends on the look you're going for, I don't use reflectors, because I like the uneven effect it has.
Sep 11 13 12:44 pm Link
Beaverton, Oregon, US
The color reflector you use depend on the look you want. When I shoot lingerie I usually go with the gold or white side of the reflector. This is just my opinion and actual results may vary.
Sep 11 13 12:46 pm Link
Rancho Cucamonga, California, US
You nailed it and pretty much answered your own question. That natural windowlight will be amazing. Here's a natural windowlight shot at one of those elegant antique filled houses...
Sep 11 13 01:42 pm Link
Belmont, California, US
Sounds like you may not get a lot of well-lit background if you place the main subject within the streaming-light space. That could be cool--your brightish subject could be composed such that the dark corners of the room form a natural vignetting or an offset of dark against light.
Tricky question. Large eflectors can take up a large two-dimensional space but are usually made on bendy frames which gives more options for placement. So reflectors would be most flexible in a small space, especially different sized reflectors and would be my first choice.
Sep 11 13 02:10 pm Link
Belmont, California, US
Depends on other objects in the house. I usually use gold if I'm attempting to simulate sunset/sunrise but if the main light (from the window) isn't gold, I wouldn't use gold for the fill, too jarring. On the other hand if everything in the background were gold and/or guilt edged, I could see the gold side working too. Try some of both. Maybe this will be an educational shoot for you.
Sep 11 13 02:20 pm Link
Plainview, Texas, US
In tight spaces my go-to lighting is a small shoot-through umbrella - used with either a small monolight or a battery speedlight. Usually I prefer the battery light for easier, quicker setup and moving around. If I have access to outlets the monolight has the the advantage of a modeling light, but modeling lights are not always that helpful if you're mixing flash with natural light.
I suggest a custom white balance and/or include a gray card in your test shots for easier adjustment later. Auto white balance can give very inconsistent results - a set balance, even if not exactly right, keeps the photos consistent for easier post processing. Of course you need to rebalance when you change lighting or move to a different room.
Sep 11 13 02:55 pm Link
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US
Bring it all.... and bring two of some things. I like the window light but you usually need a reflector to give you detail on the opposite side from the source. And what do you do when the sun rises in the sky and no longer gives you the right angle or gets later in the morning and not the right color/temp/warmth ? And what do you do if the day you show up doesn't have any sun. I don't want to be stereotypical you're 75 Km from London and isn't that known for fog and gloomy days ?
Bring it all, on location you never know what you'll run into and why waste a great location ?
Sep 11 13 03:24 pm Link
Fairfax, Virginia, US
A lot depends upon what type of result you're trying to get (extreme contrast? lots of shadow?)
Sep 11 13 04:50 pm Link
Bristol, England, United Kingdom
One technique I would like to try in that context would be to bounce a flash off surfaces like walls floors etc. Not room-filling bounce flash, but to create an accent light which picks up the colour of whatever it's reflecting off. Think of the warm light of a shaft of sunlight reflecting off a parquet floor, for instance.
Sep 11 13 04:53 pm Link
Fresno, California, US
It completely depends on the location and what you are trying to do.
Sep 11 13 06:07 pm Link
Jersey City, New Jersey, US
Unlike some of the other responses here that direct you to over-power the existing light and potentially eliminate the unique qualities of your location, I would suggest considering a light use of strobe light to bring your subject/model into the range of light coming in from the windows and use the window-light in/as your background if you find it appealing.
I frequently find that a single softbox, balanced to ambient light from a window, is effective to take compelling photos in interesting environments while still preserving the feel of the ambience of locations. I generally can't rely on window light alone being enough (or in the right place) to carry depth or have the consistent color that I need for some of my shoots.
two very different examples of the same technique:
Sep 11 13 08:34 pm Link
San Diego, California, US
Man, it is virtually IMPOSSIBLE to answer these questions without seeing the room(s), outfits and model. It's sorta like asking how to write poetry. There are a million ways of doing it and every one of them is the correct way.
I would think though that if the windows and natural light streaming in are wonderful, it would be a shame to overpower that with a lot of other light sources. Sounds like I personally would go with a very subtle fill light approach.
Is there a way you can post a shot of the room and then maybe an inspo photo of what you are trying to achieve?
Sep 11 13 09:19 pm Link
Thanks for the comments so far. Lots to consider. I will aim to post some shots of the location and model today.
Sep 11 13 11:12 pm Link
Albany, New York, US
It really depends on what you yourself are most comfortable with & what you're visually trying to go for.
Sep 12 13 02:19 am Link
Sep 12 13 03:26 am Link
Royal Oak, Michigan, US
It mostly depends on the style or mood you want. Lingerie with natural light has a very different look than strobes. Unless you have full reign to move furniture, natural light may give you few options for the direction of the light and composition of the background.
A Photek Softlighter is great for small spaces and a large light source compared to its depth.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/7 … er_II.html
Sep 12 13 05:38 am Link
Pembroke Pines, Florida, US
Sep 12 13 06:09 am Link
Bath, England, United Kingdom
It entirely depends on the look and feel you're going for.
There is no one-size-fits-all response other than to bring reflectors and lights if you have them and feel you may need them.
Oh, and hope the high ISO performance of your camera is pretty good if you're hoping to shoot in natural light indoors in the UK in the autumn!
Just my $0.02
Sep 12 13 06:12 am Link
Sun City, California, US
Natural light is perhaps best for those atmospheric arty shots - just deal with the slow shutter times with faster glass and a tripod if needed.
For lighting with strobe - I'll use my big ass shoot thru umbrella and shove it inside a doorway - leaving the bulk of the flash and stand in the hall. It turns the doorway into a big soft light dome. (leaving the bulk of the room to move and shoot in.)
The trouble is - it leaves you mostly with big flat soft light
This was the result in a pretty small bathroom with lots of reflective surfaces
18+ http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/13 … ccf846.jpg You can see from her shadows that it fills the room reasonably well with just the single source
You mileage and location may vary
Sep 12 13 08:28 am Link
Los Angeles, California, US
Dan Howell Tearsheets wrote:
I agree with this. I would focus on sucking up as much of that existing light as you can and then use a soft source to fill it in if necessary. Maintain those unique qualities the location provides you. If you're pushing your camera too close to its limits and it's possible to do so, consider putting a light source outside the windows to replace the existing light.
Sep 12 13 09:27 am Link
Kaiserslautern, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Sep 12 13 01:05 pm Link
New York, New York, US
In smaller spaces, I often use hot lights which don't have to be quite as powerful since they end up closer.
Sep 12 13 06:36 pm Link
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The white side. In my experiences, the silver side has a very harsh look; I avoid anything that makes the photos look that unnatural (I have one reflector with a silver side, and I use it from a distance on the darkest of times:
Sep 13 13 02:26 am Link
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
I would be using natural light if you want to go for moody, otherwise using flash to emulate natural light.
I shot in this gorgeous old house one time which was nice and moody but a little on the dark side, so I had my assistant hold my speedlight just out of shot and pointed towards me to create a soft flare and fake the effect of window light coming down from behind the subject:
*edit, reflector in the front for fill
Sep 13 13 02:49 am Link
Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
once you scout the venue pick the spots that look the best to use. dont pick to many spots concentrate on what you can get done in the time frame your giving yourself
visualise model at the areas your shooting and as if your looking through the frame.. think about the level youll be at, angle etc.. then look at the availble light first and foremost and if you feel you can get a good enough result with whats there. if you need a tripod and higher iso dont be afraid to use em models can stand and not blink for more than a split second
if you feel certain areas will be to dark then think about using fill for that area.. wether by reflecting availble light soures like lamp shades or using light coming in the windows or doors. if its not looking likely that you can use all the available light then you can think about bringing in additonal lighting like strobes, flash units for bouncing light into dark or shadow areas if you need to bring those areas up a bit to be able to record both the brightest and darkest areas in one frame
its really about what you feel is needed to improve whats in front of you
if it looks good then it will record well. if you need to use flash then your results will have to be previewed when your taking the pictures before making the final shots
think about the shoot as two different lighting setups.. one for the location (the surroundings) and one for lighting the subject..
hope this may help
Sep 13 13 04:21 am Link
Saint Louis, Missouri, US
As others have said, it depends on the look you want.
A few thoughts...
Have you been inside the location at the time of day when you plan to shoot? Do you know what time of day window light is best? Are there obstructions (trees, awnings, whatever) that might block the light? Do you have a Plan B in case it's a rainy day?
Here's one approach you might take. Plan on using window light. Take a 5-in-1 reflector and a stand in case you need to fill in shadows (not unlikely, at least for some shots). Put your strobes and softboxes in the trunk of your car in case it's rainy/cloudy day - or in case you want to shoot in an area that's not near a window.
Sep 13 13 07:46 am Link