While working on location you will sometimes find awesome backgrounds, and sometimes…. well less interesting (and that’s putting it mildly).
Now not in all locations it’s possible to use smoke or change the background, for example for the simple reason everything else is cool and interesting. So how do we solve this.
A very simple trick (and easy to do) is to use a very strong backlight, mimicking the sun, a window… or just a very strong backlight (whatever you want). This way we overpower the background and fill it with light but also “draw” more detail in (in this case) the staircase leading up to the light.
Setting this light up can be tricky, make sure you feather it so you don’t blow out detail, and if that’s not possible, maybe aim it more up so it blows out the ceiling but not the rest, and just crop that part of in your composition, it isn’t a matter of just “throwing” a light source somewhere and blast it with light, it does take some planning. But when it works it actually never really disappointed me.
For much more tips, techniques etc. check out my book “Mastering the model shoot” or our instructional videos (also available via this site).