Moving away from modifiers
I think my progression with lighting has been typical:
- Stay way the hell away from artificial light simply because it’s both mystifying and terrifying.
- Fart around with some speed lights and radio triggers—with invaluable help from this site—and develop a little confidence.
- Grow tired of bumping into the limitations of speed lights and umbrellas and buy some proper strobes and modifiers.
- In the process, spend enough money that you feel the need to use every light—and modifier—each and every damned time that you shoot.
I may be exaggerating a little, but still, it’s literally taken me years to wean myself off of my beloved Buff Octabox and PLM, mostly because they give me excellent results—they’re easy. So, I spent a lot of time trying to wrangle lots of light and modifiers—sometimes when some excellent natural light was just a curtain pull away.
After walking away from strobes for a while to pursue natural light again, I’ve come back with a new goal: An attempt to get a harder light while retaining some grace in the falloff—all while still being flattering to my subjects.
I spent a little time (too little, but what can you do?) shooting last night and came up with this. Ali’s lit by an AlienBees B800 with a 20° grid positioned on axis vertically and at about 10° to15° to the left of where she’s looking horizontally. One light, hard.
I’m looking forward to exploring this technique further.