As our exploration into new fields of photography goes deeper, we naturally had to look into the very dynamic and exciting world of strobe lighting.
For those not familiar with the term, a “strobe” is best described as an off camera flash unit that can be moved freely and the amount of light can be adjusted drastically, opening up a whole world of endless opportunities for shooting in any sort of manner, but primarily low light and studio situations. Our focus will primarily touch on a few recent shoots where the strobe lighting was the primary light source.
Camera Settings: 1/160th Shutter, ISO 100, Aperture f/16
Our primary light set up for these shoots was a “One Light” system, using only a Paul C. Buff Einstein strobe with a 56” Octabox diffusion and a grid. The sky is the limit with diffusion choices, but it doesn’t get much bigger and softer than a large box of that size. A softbox was essential for both controlling the direction light is spread on the subject in a small space, as well as the quality of the light spread on the subject. If you are closer to the light source, the more dynamic your subject will be lit. Back the light source up, and you will get a cleaner and more even, well lit subject. When looking at the pictures above, we know that the illumination on the person is from the “key” light source and the shadows are what could be “filled” with additional lighting, but more elaboration of key-to-fill ratios at a later date.
In the shots above, Anthony is standing roughly 12” from the softbox, which was almost parallel with his body. The addition of a grid gives even more directional control to your light, essentially turning the box into a straight beam of light hitting mostly the subjects in the line of sight of it and gives no additional spray of light to the outside confines of the grid. With strobe shooting, there isn’t much more control to be had than this.
For the shots of Alyssa in the dance studio, we struggled with drowning out all of the ambient light even though the lights were off in the studio. I used the same Einstein set-up as before with the large octabox and grid, but to get it as dramatic as possible I had to adjust my camera settings. In an effort to let in only the light from the burst of flash and not any of the subtle daylight that was coming through the few windows in the studio, I had to push my camera and gear to its limits. Putting the strobe to full light power, I was at my camera’s physical ends to create this scene. With very minimal post-processing, the photo of Alyssa turned out just the way I was hoping it would; bold and dramatic.
Camera Settings: 1/200th Shutter, ISO 100, Aperture f/18
Stay tuned for more shots from our strobe photography shoots, and keep following us for more in-depth write ups and break downs to help you get some dynamic shots like these yourself.