Guest Blog by
Fuji X Photographer Dave Kai Piper.
When Fujifilm got in touch with an idea they had about offering out some free workshop places for people who picked up the new Fuji X-Pro2, I was delighted to help out. Immediately I thought that Amersham would be a great place to run though what I think are my core lighting set ups as part of a workshop about creating light & shadow. I took a few parts from something I did at Wolverhampton uni and made a day long seminar which I titled – ‘Using Lights on People’, not the most inventive title ever, but it kinda fitted for what I had planned.
Personally speaking, I don’t think my work is that complicated when it comes to lighting, and here is why.
I think, and I could be wrong, but I only use 3 types of light. To be more precise, there could be only 3 places you can put a light, I guess a ringflash would be a forth… Once you have got the idea of Rembrandt, Butterfly and Split lighting the rest is about the finer placement and combination of these lighting types to produce things like clamshell and badger etc… We spent the morning looking though images I had shot with each lighting style and fitting each light into one of these three types. We spoke about how each lighting type makes us feel and why. The idea that the shadow placement is good way to identify lighting types was spoke about for a while and the concept that lighting is actuality all about shadow placement is a key element. For me, I find that all the character and story of an image is all in the shadow. Where I place the shadows is usually the most important element when photographing people. I think I must of said that the ‘story is in the shadow’ about a million times during the morning alone. Below are three slides used in the presentation.
‘the story is in the shadow’…
We looked at how these lighting styles effect how you see the story and the character of the images & after a short coffee break we looked at ways these three simple lighting styles can be combined to great effect. We ran though a few images in my portfolio and one by one tried to identify how they had been created. Topics such as mixed ambient & flash were also discussed. Could you name the lighting styles on the image below ?
For me, being able to identify and understand how single lighting types can come together to images is a key element in understanding light. When creating images that are designed to have impact or create a mood – knowing how to create shadows where you want them is a key skill. Hard Light + Soft Light were also things we spoke about and how they have different aspects that we can use to create story & mood.
Since we all had new Fujifilm X-Pro 2’s we all took advantage and shot in the Acros film mode for the day. I just love this film simulation for portraits. We set all our cameras to the film sim mode before shooting so that we can light to the preview on the back of the camera. As the Film Sim has it’s own contrast curve we can shoot, preview then see if you have room to extend the dynamic range of the shot by checking to see if we are clipping highlights or loosing detail in the shadows. Getting great monochrome images is all about that range of tones. With our cameras set and ready we broke in to two groups of three and I challenged each group to set up each one of the three core lighting types. After that we looked at what happens if we combine lighting styles for example one group set up badger lighting and other created a beauty look with a hair light. Quite a bit of fun was had in playing about how simple it was to move from one look to another and how everything can combine into some stunning effects when each light was looked at in an individual way
After some more coffee and a light lunch we looked at ways to set up multiple light images and the way in which to set them up. We looked at why setting lights up one by one is very helpful. Over all, I had a pretty fun day and I am pretty such everyone who attended did too – the feedback was great.
For the last part of the day, I took some questions on workflow while everyone took it in turns in shooting with Stephanie in the shooting part of the studio.
Some notes that I said I would put in this blog –
- Tethering cables – https://www.tethertools.com/
- Cactus Speedlights – RF 60 Speedight – V6 Transmitter
- Broncolour Siros – 800S Pro Three Head Kit
- Roundflash – www.roundflash.com/roundflash_dish
- 3 Legged Thing Tripod – Winston
- Lee Filters – http://ideasandimages.co.uk/lee-filters/
- SmugMug – http://ideasandimages.co.uk/smugmug_or_wordpress/
- Workflow blog post – http://ideasandimages.co.uk/my-photography-workflow-with-smugmug-wordpress-cc/
My friends over at SmugMug also have given me this code which lets you have 15% of SmugMug
I also mentioned that I would put a link to the epic amazing Peter Hurley’s Squinch video – so that is here:
At the end of the workshop I also offered to edit up an image or two that was taken on the day. Really quite happy how they came out ! It was a wonderful day so thank you very much to all everyone who came along and thank you to Fujifilm UK for setting it all up !
Images from the day by 3 delegates: