Moore Photo Tips: Breaking Down A Photo [off camera lighting]
Posted on Tuesday, February 09 2016 01:53:27 PM in Kelly Moore Bag Blog by Kelly
Photography is back
Over the past few months, photography has been calling my name. A week ago, I asked my awesome Instagram followers what they would like for me to teach when it comes to photography. The most asked for subject was off camera lighting.
In the months to come, I’ll be sharing some video tutorials to help you understand how to use off camera flashes the way I use them (and many more great tips on lots of other photography topics).
For now, and to get this party started, I’m going to show you how I used my off camera flashes in this shoot.
Make sure to stay tuned here on the blog and hop on my mailing list
because I’ll be sharing how to create styled shoots, posing tips, and lots of other great stuff that will be a little look into how my brain works when I’m getting ready for a shoot and when I’m actually photographing.
Here’s the scoop on how I lit this shoot with off camera flashes.
The set up:
For the two images below, of this amazing couple on the motorcycle, I was using two Canon speed lights. I put the speedlights as close to my subjects as possible, without the speedlights being in my composition. Since there was a lot of sunlight because of the time of day I was shooting, it makes it hard for the flashes to compete with the sun.
This means I need to find another way to block out the strength of the sun’s light power.
I do that by adjusting my ISO and aperture. I let less light from the sun into my lens with a low ISO (100) & high aperture (f 11 or higher, in this situation). I also want to get as much detail in the sky as possible, another reason why I like to shoot on such a high aperture.
This was also the perfect day to shoot outside with my Canon speed lights. Cloud cover adds more texture and movement to the sky, otherwise the sky would have been over exposed. The clouds darken the sun just enough so that I was able to get the same exposure for my subjects as I was able to get for the sky.
One Moore tip: if you’re used to shooting with wide open apertures (f5.7 and lower) you may notice with the higher apertures that your camera sensor needs to be cleaned if you see black dust on your image. When you shoot higher apertures, dust is much more noticeable.
My favorite lens
I love shooting low and wide… this brings me close and intimate with the subject. I always try to shoot from a perspective that people are not used to seeing in their every day life. Not only does it make the scene feel like the viewer is right there with my subjects, it also adds drama and interest that photographing from far away wouldn’t bring to the image.
One set up = Two very different images
These two images above, with motorcycle, have the same set up.
It’s amazing how just moving my location and distance from my subjects can completely change the look of the image. This just goes to show how different a shot can be just by moving your perspective. Often, once I get my lighting set up, I will walk all around my subjects, looking for different perspectives. I love seeing how many different results I can get from just one set up.
When posing, I typically don’t get fancy with the guys… I never want them to look uncomfortable or cheesy or manipulated. Most likely I tried to get him as natural and comfortable as possible and then I moved the girl in and out around him. I’m all about shapes, so I just direct my subjects trying to help them relax and get as comfortable as possible. If I need to, I will even come and move them with my hands to get just the right pose.
Indoors with off camera lighting
We moved our shoot inside to this theater. I immediately thought of a great off camera lighting set up that would go with the drama of the stage. To get this dramatic look, I set my flashes just out of the composition, one to the left of my subjects and one to the right. Both flashes were facing each other and shining on each of my subjects so that they were side lit by the flashes.
Posing, part two
Going back to posing, this is the perfect example… once I got him comfortable, I spent quite a bit of time getting this pose out of her.
I find that if you can get a person moving, you will often find much more believable movements. I have music going and I coached her into dancing for me.
Now, it never just happens that you tell someone to dance and they do it like you want. I always give them an example. I’ll dance around and be a little funny or goofy and laugh at myself a little. Don’t be afraid to do exactly what you are expecting them to do.
Not only will they better understand what you want them to do, it will also help them to loosen up and not feel so self-conscious. If you’re willing to look a little crazy in front of them they will be able to lighten up and have more fun with it.
Once we are clear on what I’m looking for I will shoot…a lot! I probably did that movement over 50 times to get it right.
Once I get something in my head, I see it through until it’s the photo that I know I will love.
Why this lighting set up is different from the first one
The lighting set up on this was different because rather than lighting both of my subjects from one direction with a little bit of backlight (like I did with the motorcycle set ups), I used my two lights (no backlight)… with each light being used to light one person.
I set up my flashes so that they were as close to each of my subjects as possible without being in the frame. Again, I shot wide & low because of that dramatic element it brings to the image.
Since I was shooting in this old theater, I was standing in the orchestra pit, which gave me the perfect perspective.
One Moore tip: I made sure that when I lit the subjects, the light spilled over just enough to hit the curtain as well. In fact, on this photo, if you look close enough you can actually see the flash of the Canon speed light. I liked the way it looked so I left it there.
So there you have it! The behind the scenes breakdown of three of my photos from this shoot. If you have questions, I’d love to answer them. Just leave them in the comments.
Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope this helps you the next time you decide to pull out your off camera gear! Stay tuned for tips and tutorials by signing up for my behind the scenes emails HERE
Which Kelly Moore Bag should I use?
One Moore Tip: My favorite Kelly Moore Bag for a shoot like this is the Collins. I like to be able to travel as lightly as possible. The Collins lets me do exactly that. I can keep just two lenses in my bag while carrying my camera body + lens. Then I can simply sling the Collins bag on my shoulder as we walk to our next location or throw it into the back seat of my car. Get your Collins bag HERE.