Making a shot: 2 Lights and a reflector

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For the photographers new to studio lighting, this is a basic explanation of making a shot with a couple of lights and a reflector.

GEAR:

(2) Paul C. Buff 35″ Octaboxes
(2) Alien Bees studio strobes (320 watts and 640 watts)
(1) Simple gray background
(1) reflector (white)

Nikon D3 camera body
Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 Lens
Phottix wireless triggers

SETTINGS:

ISO 200
f/5.6
1/200
Flash White Balance
Matrix Metering
Manual Mode

116mm focal length (I like the 70-200mm for the ability to really control the background with lens compression)

THE SHOT:

I wanted to really keep this image zoomed in tight. The strobe on camera right is on about 1/8 power and providing the main subject lighting. The strobe on camera left is basically aimed up and above the subjects at about 1/8 power as well. This allows the background to be lighted as well as feathering a little soft light on the subjects from above.

The problem that might occur in this situation (especially with light from above) is the creation of dark areas under the eyes. Placing the reflector against the stand on camera left took some of the light from the main strobe and bounced it back up at an angle to fill in the faces. So, it is “almost” like a 3 light set-up. In subsequent shots, that reflector also served as a fill light for the side of the chair.

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Above is the final image with not much done in post, just a little white balance correction and some sharpening. This can be done without a reflector, but that little touch of light can make a big difference.

-Chris

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