GESO - Tina (lighting how-to)

Bruce Walker bruce.walker at
Mon Oct 26 10:35:11 EDT 2009

Larry Colen wrote:
> On Sun, Oct 25, 2009 at 07:43:03PM -0400, Bruce Walker wrote:
>> My model is Tina Hung, an aspiring actor/singer/dancer. Tina is 
>> practicing her "serious look" here. :-)
> A very attractive young lady.
>> Makeup & styling: Tina and Louise Peacock
>> Camera: Pentax K20D, DA* 50-135mm F2.8
>> Lighting: Pentax AF-540FGZ x 2,
>>         Westcott 45" shoot-through umbrella,
>>         home-made snoot,
>>         silver Dollar-store auto-reflector.
>> Studio: my living room. :-)
> Excellent use of resources.

Thanks, Larry. I figured you'd appreciate the do-more-with-less aspect! 
:-)  I've been furloughed since the start of September so my new 
equipment budget is non-existent. Total extra expenses outlay for this 
shoot: $30, for the umbrella and some drugstore rechargeable AA's. 
(Which crapped-out, btw. D'oh!)  I badly need an incident light meter, 
but that must wait.

>> Comments gratefully received.
> Very nice use of shadows on the backdrop in this one:
> Please explain how you did it so that I can steal it.
>    Larry

Heh! Well, sure. :-) It was a completely spur of the moment idea, but 
inspired by stuff I've seen Joe McNally do (like in The Hotshoe Diaries).

I used an Ikea 3-panel free-standing room divider that was in the living 
room / studio. It's a wooden glossy black affair that forms a lattice of 
roughly two-inch squares (which are impossible to dust, btw).  Has a few 
decorations hanging from it which I left in place.  I positioned the 
divider so it was standing at roughly 90 degrees to the white wall 
behind the model. I set up a flash on a tripod out in the hall, about 
6-8 feet away from the divider.  I snooted the flash with a foot-long 
rolled-up piece of black paper and aimed it so it would fire through the 
divider and cast a shadow on the wall behind the model, who btw was 
standing about 4 feet from the wall.

I did a couple of test shots of just the wall to establish how that 
would look. The flash was set to about 1/2 power 'cause I wanted a 
strong shadow.

Then I setup the main flash in the umbrella on a light stand 
camera-right and about 6ft up, pointing right at Tina's face at about 45 
degrees to her.  Took a few shots while adjusting the power, and got 
this one you saw.  I don't recall the final power ratio, but it was 
something like 1/8; enough to see the subject but not wash out the 

Finally, during PP in ACR I added a gradient to reduce the exposure 
towards the left so it looks like it's receding into the distance.

There ya go. Enjoy! :-)


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