Learn the essentials of Hollywood Glamour with my step by step guide to Creative OCF Lighting. Available for purchase now!
Creating dramatic images draws on the imagination of the photographer. Past experiences, previous and self assignments as well as trying new approaches, provides a level of confidence from which the creative photographer will go the extra mile to bring the components together that will define a work of art and a salable image.
The setting was the Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum in Mesa, Arizona, November 1, 2015. I had organized a 1940's Hollywood Lighting Workshop, sponsored by Tempe Camera, Profoto, Sony, Tamron and Manfrotto. This was the fourth year I had put this program together at this facility with the theme of 1940's Hollywood in the setting of WWII aircraft.
In order to be able to include the full length of the aircraft in the shot, it was necessary to set the lights about 10 feet from our model, Shelby Pippin. The position of the lights can be seen in the above pullback photo. The overhead lights in the Air Museum provided enough ambient light level to illuminate the aircraft, such that the function of the four lights illuminating Shelby were specifically positioned to illuminate our model.
While the above lighting diagram depicts the lighting formula, note that the positions of the main and fill lights are actually reversed in the pullback photo. Yet, the overall effect of lighting remains the same. Typically in an interior scenario, the ambient light level is such that setting the camera for ISO 400, f-5.6 and a shutter speed of 1/125 of a second will provide a good balance, bringing our model about one stop above the ambient light level. This is worked out in my book, "Creative OCF Lighting Techniques for Photographers", by the use of flash guide numbers as the means to determine flash to subject distance and the resulting aperture or f-stop to use to properly illuminate our subject.
In this pullback photo, the lights are closer to our model, Paulina Silva, as a tighter portrait is the objective. Notice how the two strip boxes to either side of Paulina and slightly back, provide edge lighting as well as illuminating her hair. Not only does this create separation between the subject and the background, it mimics the style of Hollywood in the 40's.
As a Digital Artist, we are ultimately in the industry of selling a fantasy, as the best portrayal of our photographic subject, essentially, our take or our rendition of photographic story telling.
In the days of film, optical compositing required an elaborate process of masking and post production art work, often requiring the services of seasoned professional painter or illustrator to create the final artwork or ad campaign.
In 1953, Marlin Brando stared in a film, "Wild One," about a motorcycle gang. The motorcycle Mr Brando rode in the film was a British made Triumph. Later in 1959, the famous Triumph Bonneville was born, named after the famous Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. Today, the Triumph Bonneville has been resurrected as a modern motorcycle. The '50s era Bonneville was the theme for this vintage styled photo shoot.
Since my days at Vivitar, as a design engineer, speed lights have been in my blood. Now 40 years later, with the advent of new technology, I am designing the perfect light shaping toolkit for speed lights. Not just another gadget, a complete kit of light shaping tools.
When embarking on a new venture, enthusiasm is high and ideas flow easily. And while it is useful to have a game plan and a strategy in mind, there is something to be said about the fuel of creative imagination to propel an idea forward. For me, the strategic planning process begins to take shape as the idea takes on its tangible form.