Friday, June 19, 2009

You Light Up My Life Friday: Short Distance Back-lighting

Good Morning Everybody,
We are packing for our exit heading slightly south over the weekend. We head down to Lexington Kentucky where we will be attending the KPPA summer meeting on Sunday and Monday of next week. We are planning to hook up with our friends, Bev and Tim Walden, who by the way run one of the nicest studios in the country [link]. It will be nice to get back into a hotel bedroom -- just kidding;~)
Hey gang, I think I got a nice little lighting post for today. It's again on back lighting but with a slight variation on a theme.

Hit the "Read More..." link below for the rest of the story.

Here we go.
Short Distance Back-lighting
I've actually covered backlighting in a previous post. Here is the "Backlighting" link. I mentioned in that post the optimum distance for the light behind the subject is 12 feet. But as I looked through some of my other images that I've created recently and I'm finding that the 12 foot distance is only necessary on my backlit aisle photographs and my backlit dance photographs.

I'm finding there is some situations where I prefer the distance to be much shorter. One example is in this next photograph. If you look closely you'll see a little chest of drawers right above the steps behind the bride and groom. By placing my remote-controlled flash against the little chest of drawers (there wasn't enough space for my assistant to get in the proper position) I was able to create a splash of light off the wall and the bride's gown that created this dramatic backlit image of the bride and groom.
I sort of recall making this photograph with my flash in bare bulb mode. That means that I removed the reflector using the omni-directional light from the flash tube only.

Typically with my camera is set to 800 ISO at F5.6. The flash is set to quarter or half power. As I'm thinking this image was taken at 1/4 power. This is one of those situations where it's best to just experiment with your power settings, check the results on your LCD screen, and go with what looks best.

Take a look at this next photograph. It is again one of my short distance backlit photographs. I remember the bride and the groom coming out of the cathedral and I asked them just the pause at the top of the stairs. With the church doors closed I had my assistant just about 3 feet behind the couple with the reflector on the flash.

He pointed the flash directly at the couple about 4 feet off the ground and this is the result that we obtained. What happened is that the light bounced off the bride's wedding gown thereby illuminating the large door frame surrounding the subjects.
This created a nice interior frame, a frame within the exterior viewfinder area, which draws viewers attention directly to our wedding couple. I've done this a number of times and it works pretty reliably.

I've mentioned many times that I'm a BIG fan of off-camera flash. Sure, you can fire your flashes with any number of different solutions available these days on the market but I've just always been a fan of my Quantum FreeWire radio units and my quantum T5D flash head because of their consistency.

I'd suggest you grab your gear and go out there and give it a try. It's a great way to spice up your wedding photography for your clients and a great way to create some nice portfolio images for your own sample albums.

Hey gang, that's it for me today! The weekend is upon us and we are preparing to attend the KPPA Summer meeting in Lexington on Sunday and Monday. KPPA also has speakers scheduled for Tuesday so it's a wonderful opportunity for a weekend of great learning. I hope to see some of you there. Have a wonderful weekend. HAPPY Father's Day to all the dad's in the audience. I'll see you on Monday reporting from Lexington, Kentucky.
See ya' then, -David

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