In the past few days you have seen some images from the workshop “on location in Emmeloord” with our model Claudia where we look for interesting locations around our own studio.
Today the final part.
One of the things I absolutely love to do on location (or in the studio) is add a touch of color.
Always remember that color evokes emotion.
Think about watching a movie without any tinting or music, you will probably pretty quickly leave the cinema disappointed, unless of course the story is strong enough. But in most cases the reason we love certain scenes/movies is because of the tinting/music used.
So today let’s take a look at some images where I added color on location.
This image is without any added color.
I’m using a Hensel Porty here with the 14″ reflector.
This reflector gives a lot more light than a standard reflector and makes it possible to shoot amazing images even in bright sunlight.
I’m using a variable ND filter to be able to shoot on a wider aperture. When using the Geekoto system I can chose for the HSS options where you can shoot on faster shutter speeds but with standard battery packs like the Hensel Porty you are stuck with the X-sync which is often between 1/125 and 1/200. In situations like this that means that you are almost always shooting at F16 or F22. By using a variable ND filter you can take away some/a lot of light and shoot wide open or on any aperture you like.
For the next shot I’m using a second Hensel Porty but this one is covered with a thick red gel.
I’m using the black diffusion filter here (from the same kit as the variable ND filter) to create a nice lens flare.
I love both shots, but the second one does give me a nice extra mood/feel.
You might say that you can add this in Photoshop in postprocessing, but I disagree, you can mostly easily see when it’s done in real life or added in post processing.
Now you might remember the blogpost where I showed you the Geekoto system for the first time with the red gels.
Let’s to refresh your memory show some of those images.
These were shot with the Geekoto GT200 and GT250.
Small strobes that can shoot on HSS. As you can see I’m creating a nice Day2Night look here and the red really jumps off ow youthe background.
Now for the next images I’m using the exact same setup in the same location but here I switched the Geekoto for the 1200W Hensel porty system.
The Hensel system does have a lot more power but doesn’t support HSS and as you can see they give you results that are incredibly close to each other.
I think this is one of the most interesting parts of the smaller flash systems like the Geekoto they don’t like like much compared to a system like the Porty but due to the use of HSS they do pack an incredible punch.
Of course they can’t compete with the Hensel on durability, recycling speed, flash duration and raw power. But if you don’t need that raw power I think you can do awesome things with the smaller systems, something that wasn’t possible in the past when we still were depending on speedlights only.
https://frankdoorhof.com/web/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/Claudia-87-May-20-2023-Edit.jpg8001200Frank Doorhofhttps://frankdoorhof.com/web/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/studioFD_Logo-1FV.pngFrank Doorhof2023-05-30 17:00:552023-05-26 08:37:19Adding a touch of color
During the workshop on location in Emmeloord with our model Claudia the theme is to find locations that might look boring and make them interesting enough for some cool shots. in my opinion this is one of the best things you can do to train yourself to create better images.
The reason most people don’t shoot images close to their home is probably that they see it every day and don’t realise anymore that some locations can be great to shoot images in or against. Every day I walk Chewie I see locations where I think “this would be nice to place a model” but somehow you always travel to cool locations to do the same while in essence you could take the same kind of images close you your own location.
Now of course we do want to introduce also some interesting lighting, because if you just shoot something with ambient light it’s boring right?
Or maybe not….
So during the workshop we actually run through several different lighting solutions.
So today let’s take a look at what you can do with just an open parking place.
Now let’s add a just a slight amount of flash.
I’m using a Hensel Porty with a 14″ reflector here and to get this effect you really don’t need a lot of power, in essence I’m overpowering the ambient by just 1-1.5 stops.
With retouching you could get something similar quite easily.
Now one of the limitations of shooting with the Hensel Porty is that you are limited to the X-sync which in most cases lies between 1/125 and 1/200. So you will mostly shoot on smaller apertures when using a lot of power. This is why I’m using a variable magnetic ND filter on my lens when shooting with the porty system outside.
I’m using the K&F concept version which you can find in the Frank Doorhof kit which includes 2 Black diffusion filters (1/4 and 1/8) and the variable ND filter, all magnetic of course.
Ok, so now let’s add a lot of light.
Here I’m totally overpowering the ambient light and also chose a different angle to enhance the contrast even more.
One might say…”hey this is cheating because we don’t see the sky anymore”
So of course I also shot some with the sky included but we did move the set a bit to make the series more varied.
This is something I always highly recommend.
If you shoot all images from the same angle and in the same location it can be very nice but also a bit boring, and you don’t have to travel or even walk to another location, it’s often a matter of choosing a location where you can shoot from different angles and create something new with every angle. It doesn’t only speed up your workflow but also give your client much more different images for the same price, so they will be much more willing to hire you again for another job.
As you can see there is a huge difference between the first and last images.
However in reality it’s “only” the difference in lighting and by choosing different angles.
So the next time you are shooting on location look around for areas that can be shot from different angles and don’t be afraid to shoot with or without strobes.
https://frankdoorhof.com/web/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/Claudia-159-May-20-2023-Edit.jpg8001200Frank Doorhofhttps://frankdoorhof.com/web/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/studioFD_Logo-1FV.pngFrank Doorhof2023-05-28 17:00:462023-05-26 08:37:10Working on location and what does flash do?
Geekoto is the perfect off-camera flash to get full control over your light. In the studio and on location! Read more about shooting models in the sun with Geekoto Off-Camera Flash.
During the location in Emmeloord workshop with Claudia, it was the first time I used the Geekoto GT200 and GT250 during a workshop. I only shot the first set with the set with Geekoto and after that, we switched over to the powerful Hensel Porty System which images I will upload tomorrow. The weather was great. So, we had to shoot model Claudia in the bright sun with Geekoto Off-Camera Flash.
Yes, the Hensel Porty system is with its 1200W and large reflectors a lot more powerful, but for those small strobes, the Geekoto’s surprised all the attendees including myself.
We started with just using the Geekoto and a reflector on the Bowens mount.
Now I have to add it was very sunny.
As you can see it’s pretty easy to push away the ambient light, and it’s easy shooting models in the sun with Geekoto Off-Camera Flash. And this was not even on full power but actually on almost the lowest setting, adding a reflector with highly reflective material really helps a lot.
For the next set, Claudia only moved to another angle where the sun was a bit more challenging especially because I decided to also add a red gel and our Rogue dome to the setup, now you have to realize that adding a gel will take away a considerable amount of light, but as you can see in the results, the system had no problem keeping the mood I wanted.
Now the original idea for us was to use the Geekoto system as a replacement for our Nissin system making it easier for me to demonstrate our Rogue products during trade shows and workshops/events on location where you would normally need speedlights. But the Geekoto’s impressed us so much for the price that we decided to go a few steps further.
Starting next week we will be the official distributor for the Benelux for them.
We are building the website and will add the products to our shop this weekend, so if you want to order please send us an email or wait till we add them to the shop in the coming days.
https://frankdoorhof.com/web/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/Claudia-68-May-20-2023-Edit.jpg8001200Frank Doorhofhttps://frankdoorhof.com/web/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/studioFD_Logo-1FV.pngFrank Doorhof2023-05-26 17:00:182023-05-26 13:23:54Shooting models in the sun with Geekoto Off-Camera Flash
. PIn today’s blog post, we look at a topic that is super easy when you “get” it. But can be super confusing when you start out. Do you know how to meter light on location outside? Continue reading if this is a problem for you.
Metering outside to kill the sun
Ok, it sounds a bit harsh we don’t really kill the sun. But when using strobes outside the right way you can make it day-to-night without any problem.
Now with the day-to-night technique, there is no real problem. So let’s start there.
When you don’t have a modern camera with an EVF you can use a light meter and spot meter for the area you want to be totally in shadow but just show a slight amount of detail. And now set the aperture for the strobe app 4-4.5 stops higher. Or meter the clouds and open up the aperture max 2.5-3 stops to keep detail in the whites.
With a modern camera, we can use the EVF (Electronic Viewfinder). Just make sure it’s set up to show you the results of the settings in the camera. I always call this the WYSIWYG method. From here on it becomes super simple. I mostly lock my shutter speed at 1/125 (Xsync) and ISO at 50/100 I will then use the aperture dial to dial in the look I like when I get the look I want that’s the aperture I will meter the strobes on.
Xsync is the max shutter speed that can be used without HSS, when you use HSS you do need an HSS-capable light meter like the Sekonic 858, everything else I discuss stays the same.
So if I love the F16 ISO50 1/125
The only thing I have to do is set the light meter to ISO50 and meter the strobe till it hits F16.
The nice thing about using the EVF is that you can already see the end result before you take the shot. Although a light meter is a very accurate tool it’s very hard to “imagine” how the end result will be by just metering. I can predict it for about 75% but using the EVF is 100% and much more accurate. The only thing you have to be aware of is that you have to “imagine” the model to be lit in the image while in essence you probably see him/her as a dark outline.
The problem area
I sometimes call it the Twilight Zone or the Outer Limits. In essence, it’s not far from the truth, and it’s an easy way to remember what the problem actually is. So what do I mean?
When we meter for day-to-night photography it’s standard that you start with the strobe on the highest setting. Let me be honest, you know you’re going to need it right?
So when you meter the strobe it will probably register as F22. And you lower it one stop and it will meter F16 and you’re there. But even when you lower the strobe another stop it will probably read F11. And probably also F8 after another stop…… Do you feel where I’m going?
There is a point where you MIGHT think you are influencing the strobe. But in essence, you are metering the clouds in front of the sun… So what’s going on, and why doesn’t it happen with day-to-night?
Fill in flash
When we shoot day-to-night we start from a high power output. And because we are overpowering the sun/ambient light we have loads of headroom to go down even more before we hit the Twilight Zone.
When we use fill-in flash, we are in essence adding a little bit of flash to the ambient light. Just to open up some shadows, or maybe just give an essence of extra mood, or mimic a lamp in the room, fill-in flash is subtle and most of the time not even visible (until you don’t use it).
So how do we set up the lights in this situation?
Indeed… where from day-to-night we went from the highest setting slowly down. We are now probably starting on the lowest setting and this is where the problems arise which I call the Twilight Zone.
It’s the light meter’s fault
When we look at how the light meter works it’s very easy to say that the light meter is the cause of this problem.
The light meter has a photosensitive cell and meters the light hitting that cell within the values you setup in your meter.
So let’s say I’m in a situation where my ambient light is: F4 ISO400 1/125
Now when I set up my light meter for ISO400 1/125, the meter will literally give me the value for the aperture with those settings. So where is this a problem? well, it also does that in flash mode, not just in the “sun” mode.
Let’s say I’m using a strobe with softbox at 1mtr from my model. I set my strobe up for the lowest setting, walking up to the model and meter the light… and wow what a piece of luck it’s F4…. That was easy. I walk back and take the shot…. And to my surprise, there is no strobe. Of course, check the connection, and I see the strobe firing, so I re-meter and the same thing happens. I raise the output of the strobe and the meter keeps saying F4…..
Does this mean the light meter is useless on location?
No not at all, in fact, it does exactly what it’s supposed to do 😀
On some meters you will actually see a percentage, this is actually the number of strobes vs continuous light. So in my situation, the strobe is probably not outputting F4 but more likely F2.8 or even lower. The meter does respond to the strobe but meters F4 on 1/125 ISO400 which is actually the ambient light as we had determined before.
So how do we solve this?
When I set up for fill-in light I will always put my strobes a bit higher than what I think I need.
I’ll first meter the ambient light via the EVF or light meter (depending on the subject). And then I’ll meter the strobes.
If my ambient light meters F4 I will make sure I first meter F5.6 on the strobes. And from there I will go down 0.5 stops if the meter also drops 0.5. I know that I’m in sync with the meter and the strobe vs the ambient light. From there I will go down 0.1 stops just as long as the meter also drops 0.1. As soon as the meter doesn’t drop anymore just add 1/10th and you have the perfect balance between ambient light and strobe. Now in all honestly I never use this technique, but it’s important to understand it, in theory, to see that there is a zone where the ambient light simply overpowers the strobe.
In most cases, I want a little bit more on our subject. So in most cases when my ambient is F4 I will set the strobes up for F8 and lower the strobes a full stop. If the meter also drops a full stop I know I’m fine and get the effect I want.
Why not just adjust and shoot….?
I get it.
Why use light meters, calculations, etc. to get something perfect when you can also just shoot, adjust and shoot.
First of all, when you adjust, shoot, adjust, shoot, adjust, shoot it takes up more time. Plus you waste a lot of battery power. When working for a client it doesn’t really give confidence if you as a photographer can’t nail your lighting with the first shot. And if you work with a model she won’t be your best friend if you have to do that every time something changes.
When using a light meter in all setups (except the 100% balanced fill-in flash) you only need to meter twice. Once for the current output, adjust the strobes and meter again to check, and if you trust your strobes…. Well, you don’t even have to do the second one.
When you understand the concept and get some speed in balancing your lights you can very quickly change the total mood of a setup. Like these images I shot during a workshop in Sweden in the meeting room. We go from fill-in flash to more extreme settings.
If you have questions, feel free to leave them here or on our social media.
https://frankdoorhof.com/web/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/Lois-231-of-358.jpg8001200Frank Doorhofhttps://frankdoorhof.com/web/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/studioFD_Logo-1FV.pngFrank Doorhof2023-04-16 12:00:522023-04-21 18:02:52How to meter light on location, outside
Here are some interesting links for you! Enjoy your stay :)
You must be logged in to post a comment.