Moving away from modifiers

Hard Light Woman
Hard Light Woman

I think my progression with lighting has been typical:

  1. Stay way the hell away from artificial light simply because it’s both mystifying and terrifying.
  2. Fart around with some speed lights and radio triggers—with invaluable help from this site—and develop a little confidence.
  3. Grow tired of bumping into the limitations of speed lights and umbrellas and buy some proper strobes and modifiers.
  4. 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.