One light, One modifier, that's all I need, or is it?
I've been reading all of your comments lately on my Youtube Channel and I discovered you guys never click on the blog links, or go see my past videos. A lot of the questions you ask me have already been answered... but I understand, past 6 months for me the video is not worth watching.
So here is the thing, I discovered recently that 75% of my work if not more were made with only one light and one modifier only... Can you guess which one?
Before you leave me a hate comment below, because I own Broncolor lights, I was working the same way 6 years ago with only a Speedlite and silver umbrella. The main differences are the consistency of the quality of light I get now, the battery life, the power and the fast recycle time.
Shooting against the sun at noon with a Speedlite is not easy and a silver umbrella is useless if you are shooting on a windy day. Trust me I broke a few of them and it wasn't in a tornado.
I needed something small that would give me pleasing results, and this is where the Beautybox 65 comes in. It's basically my default light and some of you have noticed that I often use the grid on it to narrow the beam and focus my light and reduce the spread.
It acts as a beauty dish, it gives a punchy contrasted look to my images... everything I love!
And what's cool about this is that it all fits in a bag, one Siros L a camera, and 2 lenses a few batteries inside a big bag, but still a single bag!
The Beautybox 65 can be used with any Speedlite on the market with the correct adapter, and other brands also propose their collapsible beauty dish.
Then, it's up to you to be creative. All the following shots were made with these tools. And my go-to light placement is easy, I always start with my strobe camera right or left, slightly above my model at a 45 or 90 degrees angle.
Marina Kudryashova (Bordeaux - France) 5D mark III + Broncolor Siros L 800ws 1/200sec f5 ISO 125 at 24mm
Here I wanted a bright even light... the sun hits camera left, my light is camera right, If I did this shot again today, I would go for that double shadow on the floor.
Marina Kudryashova (Bordeaux - France) 5D mark III + Broncolor Siros L 800ws 1/200sec f5.6 ISO 125 at 44mm
Palais de Justice (Bordeaux - France) 5D mark III + Broncolor Siros L 800ws 1/500sec f8 ISO 160 at 16mm
A few months back I released a behind-the-scenes video with another dancer in the same location with an identical setup.
Palais de la bourse (Bordeaux - France) 5D mark III + Broncolor Siros L 800ws 1/200sec f5.6 ISO 800 at 24mm
Why do I love using flash? I love "control", and here it helped me keep all the details in the sky!
Laura Viaud (Bordeaux - France) 5D mark III + Broncolor Siros L 800ws 1/200sec f4.5 ISO 100 at 24mm
Laura Viaud (Bordeaux - France) 5D mark III + Broncolor Siros L 800ws 1/200sec f6.3 ISO 160 at 24mm
Or like I often do, I slightly underexpose my background, for a darker more dramatic image.
Candice Dupont (Toulon - France) 5D mark III + Broncolor Siros L 800ws 1/200sec f5.6 ISO 100 at 16mm
Candice Dupont (Toulon - France) 5D mark III + Broncolor Siros L 800ws 1/200sec f4 ISO 100 at 16mm
To sum it up, I am still discovering new ways of using one light, simply because each photoshoot is different, the location, the model, the themes, my mood and when you add additional light sources that are already there, a window, the sun, practical lights, you can fake a 2 light set up.
Light in the back and one on the front, easy to guess where the sun is...
And you may have already seen this picture, I made a video on how to emulate that 2 lights look with only one light.
The sun here is my main light, and my light is placed just behind here bare bulb.
Musée des Augustins (Toulouse - France)
The same principles were applied here for this one but I left her in the shadows!
Bains municipaux (Strasbourg - France) 5D mark III + Broncolor Siros L 800ws 1/125sec f7.1 ISO 320 at 16mm
Depending on the amount of Ambient light you let in, you can dramatically change the mood. You can choose to have everything in the dark except your subject and embrace deep shadows or you can backlight your subject and so on... The possibilities are almost endless.
I am sure, there will be another video on one light setups in the future. My Beautybox 65 will be replaced soon, because despite the fact that I love the portability and the light it produces the beam is too narrow without the grid, so it is not ideal for full-body shots, but this will be the topic for another video