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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Fashion, Editorial & Commercial Talk
Thread started 01 Nov 2016 (Tuesday) 07:02
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Minimalist lighting setup for mens' fashion?

 
Derptography
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Joined May 2016
Post has been edited over 1 year ago by Derptography.
Nov 01, 2016 07:02 |  #1

I need to do an outdoor mens' fashion shoot, and have limited gear - a 36" umbrella softbox with a grid, a 48" umbrella softbox without, a 36" regular softbox, a little 24" speedlight softbox, and a 28" and 16" beauty dish. As for lights, I've got two speedlights and an AD360.

The default simple setup I've seen is to use a large strip box (60"+) perpendicular to the camera on one side, and a softbox 45 degrees to the model and 45 degrees down on the other. Problem is, I haven't got a strip box. I could put the 48" umbrella box back a bit, especially if I put the AD360 in it, but it seems sub-ideal.

It's all about the clothes in this one, so big, even lighting is important. Any ideas?




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nathancarter
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Joined Dec 2010
Post has been last edited over 1 year ago by nathancarter. 2 edits done in total.
Nov 01, 2016 15:56 |  #2

Whew, this is a tough one without knowing the location, the desired look, and the time of day.

Did the designer or fashion director give specific instructions for your lighting, or are you assuming that "big, even lighting" is what you want? Find some mood board or reference images that the designer likes.

For outdoors, keep the off-camera lighting simple, and just use it to complement sunlight. During most of the day, it's going to be hard to combat daylight (especially direct sun) with just a couple of Speedlights. You can wait until late afternoon, but that ol' golden hour goes by FAST - too fast to try to work with two big modifiers, and any wardrobe change will be right out. You might have time for two lighting looks, but no significant wardrobe change.

You might not even need off-camera light if the ambient plays nice, or you're in a good location with diffuse shade. I'm bad at this too - I take my Speedlights everywhere, but working outdoors I can often get better results if I just put the lights away and look for good ambient. It's hard to change that mindset... I really need to remind myself that I can get good results with ambient if I just look for it.

Edit - last time I was in a Calvin Klein store, the in-store print artwork (photos of guys in suits, blown up to big prints on the walls) were obviously done with a single hard light. Maybe late-afternoon sunlight, edited with a neutral-cool white balance, or maybe studio with one powerful light without a big soft modifier.


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Derptography
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Joined May 2016
Post has been edited over 1 year ago by Derptography.
Nov 02, 2016 00:15 |  #3

nathancarter wrote in post #18173105 (external link)
Whew, this is a tough one without knowing the location, the desired look, and the time of day.

This was a definite failure on my part. Let's just say, for the sake of reference, either night or heavily underexposed ambient light.

The desired look (I'll try and find the page that showed a similar look with lights) is a bit like this. (external link) The job here is mostly to fully illuminate the clothes - it's not about a message, just showing them effectively. Hard light makes beautiful marketing material, but it's not as good at showing off the button stitching.

nathancarter wrote in post #18173105 (external link)
Did the designer or fashion director give specific instructions for your lighting, or are you assuming that "big, even lighting" is what you want? Find some mood board or reference images that the designer likes.

I'm afraid this is a rather smaller job than that - just a university student who needs portfolio shots and has an extremely small budget. I'm taking some cheap jobs after working as another photographer's assistant, and this is very much a run-and-gun strobist sort of job.

Most simple fashion lighting setups for full-body images I've seen are a variant on "tall fill one one side, key at ~45 degrees on the other." Not relying on sunlight also means I'm a lot less bound by schedule - daylight varies, but night is incredibly consistent. Flash over ambient would work great, but turning out crappy work because the bride showed up an hour late is a perpetual nightmare I'd rather avoid, and there's a lot of really cool graffiti murals I could defocus and easily illuminate with a speedlight.




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Scott ­ Spellman
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Royal Oak MI
Nov 02, 2016 08:09 |  #4

The sample you show looks like one rectangular softbox with no other lighting. This is simple and will meet your clients needs. This is exactly why it is so important to have sample photos to review with the client to establish a mood board. Your other discussion about outside shoots and graffiti murals is unnecessarily complicated.




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Wilt
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Post has been last edited over 1 year ago by Wilt. 3 edits done in total.
Nov 02, 2016 08:25 |  #5

The absolute size of the softbox (48" rather than 60") does not matter all that much...it is not like there is a hard cutoff to the illuminated area. Assuming your light is 5' away, the 60" source is only very slightly 'softer' (25%), for example. I quantified the edge falloff early this year...

http://photography-on-the.net ...showthread.php?p=17​847815

Are the articles to be photographed having any TEXTURE to the fabric, that warrants a hard source to be used in combination with the large softbox fill?!


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nathancarter
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Joined Dec 2010
Post has been last edited over 1 year ago by nathancarter. 5 edits done in total.
Nov 02, 2016 09:32 |  #6

Nighttime makes it easy, yeah. When you said "outside" I assumed you meant daytime.

In that case, I'm a fan of a medium-sized brolly box (I use cheap 42" PBLs) and a bare rim/kicker light. You can do a lot with those. The 42" box can do a passable job of lighting the whole subject, and can definitely can accomplish 3/4-length light. You WILL NEED an assistant and/or a sandbag if you're working outside, or the slightest breeze will knock your lightstand over.

If you mostly eliminate the ambient, you may need to use the second light for front fill instead of rim/kicker - this means you'll need to put your subject in front of some background that they don't disappear into - that means, no black suits in front of empty black streets or dark walls; or, use your camera settings to allow a little ambient in.

THIS SHOT (external link) is a single YN560II speedlight in a 42" brolly box, used to light a subject that's seven feet tall - I used camera settings to allow some ambient in. There's a small amount of falloff at the bottom edge of the skirt, but the ambient mitigates it a bit. Offhand I'd say only one stop or less of falloff, and certainly not objectionable. The ceiling and walls are far enough away that I'm not getting any bounce or reflection. The bottom edge of the brolly box is approximately nose or chin level.

This whole album is lit the same way (external link) - a single 42" brolly box - but I wanted higher contrast so I intentionally allowed less ambient on the subject, but there's still enough ambient to get some separation from the background. There are some full-length shots and group shots in there so you can see what kind of falloff to expect. You might not want that gritty, dramatic, high-contrast look, so you'll use your second light for fill.

Edit, I might have some on-location shots where I had the subject in front of a wall or backdrop, as in your reference. Let me think.


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scorpio_e
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Nov 04, 2016 09:38 |  #7

You can do all of the planning you want but if it is a windy night, you will only be able to shoot with no modifier. Even sand bags do not help if it is very windy. So be prepared for that too.


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jcolman
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Joined Mar 2008
North Carolina
Nov 09, 2016 14:41 |  #8

These are not really fashion shots but it shows what is possible with the gear you have. One large softbox camera right on main subject. A bare speed light for a rim light and a third light firing thru an umbrella light for background subject. Obviously the time of day (or evening in this case) was important.

IMAGE: http://i182.photobucket.com/albums/x148/jcolman_photo/storageunit-29-Edit.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: http://s182.photobucke​t.com ...rageunit-29-Edit.jpg.html] (external link)

IMAGE: http://i182.photobucket.com/albums/x148/jcolman_photo/storageunit-40-Edit.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: http://s182.photobucke​t.com ...rageunit-40-Edit.jpg.html] (external link)

www.jimcolmanphotograp​hy.comexternal link

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Minimalist lighting setup for mens' fashion?
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