It’s been awhile since I had Jacq in front of the camera. Last time we had a shoot together was god-knows-when, so when schedules aligned, we just had to shoot. Worked up the usual single-light source setups, and toyed around with the clean white background again, but this time using harsher lighting for the main light. I got the idea from the Trainspotting movie posters. Simple harshly-lit black and whites, but keeping texture on the image by preserving the mid tones.
To get that evenly clean background, it was a combination of using a paper background, and a white acrylic sheet. I over exposed by 1.5 stops on the paper, but kept Jacq at a distance so that the bouncing lighting wouldn’t cause any accidental rim highlights. I used the acrylic sheet as a flooring, which then bounced the light from the background. Since the sheet had a glossy sheen, it somewhat acting like a dull mirror, giving a clean white floor. It also provided a nice shadow profile as well… quite a chore to do in post production if you are looking for such effect.
That same principle also applies to any light you put on the model. For sure there would always be fall-out light that would hit the background. How far the model and light is against the background, affects how well the background is lit. With the gray background set, I was still using a single light source. How dark or light gray the background becomes is determined by the distance I put Jacq against it. There’s this median distance where you can get a nice tapered off light on the background without having to use a second strobe to create a spot fill at the back.
I know the lighting is rudimentary for some readers, but it’s in these simple sessions where your technical skill is drilled until it becomes second nature next time you need to do it for such a shoot. Personally, it’s all about discerning the strength of the background light vs. the distance of the model in figuring out how much incidental highlights you’re going to end up with. That simple awareness gives me the knowledge of how much of it I want in my final images.
These rather simple lighting setups are the building blocks of more complicated ones. Hence, it’s always good to know these by heart.
- Make-up: Jet Babas
- Styling: Model’s Own
- Model: Jacq Yu