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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 26 Nov 2007 (Monday) 00:17
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Using a single strobe - creative examples - post yours

 
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sfaust
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Nov 26, 2007 00:17 |  #1

In another post, we were discussing multiple strobes and the reasons for using a third light. Part of my contribution to the thread was my opinion that a photographer should approach lighting each shot with a single strobe as the starting point. Then only add additional lights if they bring something to the image. If you always start with three lights, you'll most likely use then in the traditional way (key, fill, hair), and most likely end up with traditional looking image because of it.

If you limit yourself to one strobe and work that light to its best advantage, many times you may find that it works perfectly all by itself, or balanced with the available lighting. If thats the case, you've probably made the image more dramatic in the process, simplified your work, and reduced your setup time. All good things if you still end up with a better image for it.

So I'd love to see more posts in this thread with images taken with a single strobe, or a strobe and balanced creatively with ambient lighting. There are many different ways to use a single light creatively. First is to get it off the camera if its a hot shoe flash, and move it away from the camera position. Same with studio lighting. Then some further modification with snoots, grids, diffusion, etc, will come in handy.

If you don't have snoots, grids, etc, no fear. They are easily made in minimal time with common household materials. You can made a snoot out of a cardboard tube or box cut to shape and taped (if you use a studio strobe, be mindful of the heat generated from the modeling lights), or aluminum foil shaped and taped to the strobe head. You can use things in front of the strobe to cast shadows or patterns, such as a plant, cardboard with cutouts in various shapes, mirrors reflecting light, and so on. Lots of possibilities if you think about ways you see light modified by various objects in every day life. Ie, the interesting light that is created when sunlight passes though old glass windows, or a drinking glass. Shadows and such created on a wall by the sun coming through trees, a slit in a barn wall, or being reflected off a buildings windows.

Anyway, post any images here taken with a single strobe, or hot light, in a creative way. I'll start off with a couple from the recent post I mentioned, and perhaps a couple others to give everyone ideas. It will be fun to see how others approach it, and what gets posted. Its not a contest, no critique, just for fun.


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sfaust
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Nov 26, 2007 00:18 |  #2

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Single light on the left of the model, shone through a clear mylar sheet with gaffers tape attached to create the shadows simulating a window or other obstruction. The deep shadows from the model were key in adding the mood I was after, and a single light made it work.

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Nov 26, 2007 00:18 |  #3

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This image was done with a single srobe on the left. I feather the light such that a lot of the lighting went behind the subject to allow a faster light fall off into shadows on the right side of his face, and also to add some lighting to the background so it wouldnt go too dark.

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Nov 26, 2007 00:19 |  #4

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This was a very simple setup. One hard light shone directly on his back. I shot from above to add some tension and drama. To add some depth to the image, the spot on the floor lit from the strobe was left intentionally. I had originally blocked that light, then realized it added depth to the scene and added it back in.

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Nov 26, 2007 00:19 |  #5

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This was a very simple setup. On small softbox on the left, and I balanced the ambient light in the background. The light in the background is the light in my office cubicle lighting my desk.

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Nov 26, 2007 00:19 |  #6

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A single light with a grid or snoot was used to light this maternity portrait. The dark shadows created by using a single light make this image for me. I've seen other similar images done with a traditional three light setup, and I never felt it had the same character as this one.

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Nov 26, 2007 00:20 |  #7

Ok, thats a start to give people some ideas to spring off of. So lets see what others have shot using a single strobe.


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Nov 26, 2007 01:28 |  #8

that maternity shot is awesome Stephen.




  
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Nov 26, 2007 01:43 |  #9

since im too poor for a second strobe (i hope i can buy a 580ex to slave my 430ex) ive been playing a lot with and off shoe cord... dont know how "good" these are, but here they are anyways.

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Nov 26, 2007 01:45 |  #10

Great shots stephen. Just shows how much more I have to practice!!!




  
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Nov 26, 2007 06:58 |  #11

Thanks bolantej and joeyserver.

eryk, those are exactly what I'm looking for. I really like the second shot too. I thought they were binoculars at first until I had a second look. Nice :) Oh, and a large reflector is pretty cheap compared to a second strobe, and can really add the look of a second strobe in many cases. If it comes down to books or lab fees vs a reflector or strobe, you can always make one in any size out of cardboard and aluminum foil for a few dollars :)


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Nov 26, 2007 07:11 as a reply to  @ sfaust's post |  #12

Both taken with a single strobe (580exII) in a small softbox(litedome q39)...


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Nov 26, 2007 14:29 |  #13

Single AB800 w24/36 Soft box and WIndow light

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WIndowlight as main AB800 with 48" brollybox for hair light
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Nov 26, 2007 21:28 |  #14

Canon 430EX bounced into silver umbrella on camera left. White reflector at camera right.


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Nov 27, 2007 08:42 as a reply to  @ Mark-B's post |  #15

The floating head effect. ;) One light, camera left shot through an umbrella.

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