As a stock photographer who shoots mostly lifestyle and food images, a big part of what I do is I try to light my subjects so that they don’t look like they were lit. Make sense? Well, I basically want there to be no unnatural shadows, crazy lighting, etc. I love to use studio lights but I always want the focus to be on the subject and the activity going on in the scene and be lit as if it were outdoor light, window light or just normal indoor lights. You’d actually be surprised at how much work can go into a shot to achieve this … sometimes it’s really easy, but sometimes it’s also extremely challenging.
When I was visiting family last week my dad was really cool with modeling for me. He used to have to use a CPAP machine to help him breathe at night, but lost a bunch of weight so doesn’t need to use it anymore. But since he still had the machine handy I thought we would do some stock images with him sleeping with the mask on.
Window Light: Canon 7D, Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens, 1/10 sec at f/2.8, ISO 100
When I first set up the bedroom the light outside was nice and cloudy so it gave a soft, diffused look to the bed. I was happy with this light, but it was way too dark for me to get any real shots (the shutter speed, at 1/10th second, was too slow to hand-hold, and the aperture, f/2.8, gave too little depth-of-field for my tastes). So, I positioned a White Lightening x800 with a 32×40″ foldable softbox just in front of the window (see photo at the top of this posts … this was rental gear from BorrowLenses.com—see yesterday’s post for more info). I used my handy light-meter (yes, I use a light meter), metered to f/4 and then took another test shot:
White Lightening x800 light: Canon 7D, Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens, 1/125 sec at f/4, ISO 100
The image above looked so close to the original that I didn’t even need to make any changes. Both are completely un-edited, btw … they are straight out-of-camera with no adjustments applied. Oftentimes I don’t have a starting point for my images (I have to create the light with nothing to compare it to) but I usually know what “look” I’m going for. These two images were just perfect examples of how studio light can be used to make it look like no studio light was used. :)