A studio session … provides the greatest chance for control. [But] even though there is total freedom.—Eve Arnold
I started ‘How Did You Make That Shot?’ in 2012 but last year I only wrote one post, so in response to reader requests, I’ve brought it back. I promise to make an effort in 2017 to update this series, especially as I put my newly refurbished home studio back to work this year.
Flashpoint’s 13-inch Fluorescent Dimmable Ring Light is the first continuous source ring light that I’ve tried and its attractive price ($69.95) makes it a good fit for a world embracing LED and fluorescent sources. Why Fluorescent? A digital SLR’s imaging chip is least sensitive in the blue channel where tungsten lighting has the least output. By contrast, fluorescent lighting closely matches an imaging chip’s RGB spikes more than tungsten sources that produce 93% heat and 7% red light.
As with all continuous lighting sources you can use your camera’s built-in light meter to measure exposure. For images of the always delightful Pamela Simpson, I put the camera in Program mode, letting the camera determine aperture and shutter speeds while tweaking with the SLR’s exposure compensation control.
Initially I was concerned that shooting with a ring light gave me just one lighting choice but one model’s sensitivity to the intensity of Ring Light caused me to move it off to the left or right side treating it as a traditional light source. With the ring light at camera right, it produced more modeling and less of a flat look and because the placement was not too far off-axis, retained the circular catchlights in the subject’s eyes.
On the other hand, shooting through the ring light in the traditional way created the flat lighting and classic shadow around the Pam Simpson’s charming pose. Shot with a Panasonic Lumix GH3 mirrorless camera with 14-140mm f/4.0-5.8 Asph/Mega O.I.S. lens (at 32mm) and an exposure of 1/15 sec at f/5.6 and ISO 1000.
For years people asked if they could shoot with me. Now you can join me in a series of one-on-one workshops on studio lighting where you’ll l learn to use techniques that I’ve written about in magazines and books. During these informal but hands-on sessions you can ask questions and shoot photographs for your portfolio, for a fully interactive experience. Details for signing up are here.
If you’re interested in shooting portraits, please pick up a copy of “Studio Lighting Anywhere” which is available from your favorite book or camera stores as well as Amazon.com, where your purchase helps this blog.