Newb Advice

Jonathan K Sakkos 12:07am, 11 November 2009
In a few days I will be shooting for some friends of mine that are in a band. I am very new to flash photography, but have read lighting 101 a few times. I've done one strobist shoot before, but it was tough because I only had two bare flashes and no modifiers except a bedsheet. There are 7 band members and I'd like to keep things relatively simple. We haven't chosen a location yet, but I'm not banking on the weather, so it will probably be indoors. Here is my equipment:

Nikon D90
18-55 VR
55-200 VR
35 1.8G
50 1.8D
2x Sunpak 422D
45" White umbrella
8' lightstand
22" 5-in-1 reflector
cactus v4 triggers
*No gels yet. The kit I ordered is on backorder.

The umbrella hasn't come yet, so not much time to play around with it before the shoot. I was thinking of using it in front or maybe off at a slight angle with the other flash, bare, behind. Possibly bounce the umbrella off of the ceiling depending on the color.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
hatchbackmedia 9 years ago
Well, what kind of band? What look are they going for? With your limited light sources and multitude of band members you are going to be hard pressed for any sort of complex lighting solutions. SO, with that in mind think simple and think directional!

Hard light at extreme angles can give some great results. Think, single bare lightbulb in a room. In face, with a 35mm f1.8 you can use light sources other than your strobes! OR use one strobe on a wide angle setting as a hairlight etc, and then the other on a brolly to light the group from the front...

just a few ideas
Jonathan K Sakkos 9 years ago
I guess mentioning the type of band might have been pertinent. whoops. They play opera/classical music that modified to be played with electric guitars, bass, keyboard, etc. Think of bach or vivaldi, add a little metal (not the voices), and that's kinda what it sounds like. A bit hard to describe if you've never heard it. Here's a link to some of their work: They literally record in a garage, so the quality isn't that great, but you get the picture.

As for what they're going for, I have no idea. They never really tell me. I think it would be very helpful to have a focus, so maybe I will give them a call and try to figure that out before the shoot.

A bit of hard light seems like it could work well. Do you have any examples? By extreme angles you mean? 90 degrees? more?

Only one of my strobes has a zoom on it. I could always diy a snoot or grid or something.

Thanks for the input. You already got the wheels turning
njl-photolog PRO 9 years ago
I started to think of suggestions I could offer then I decided to ask if you need an assistant?
Why, you may ask: a) a couple of years I would have really appreciated someone stepping forward to help me, b) the experience, lighting and photographing seven people is a challenge, c) I get attribution for being an assistant. I figure this is the best offer of help you are likely to get. ;-)

As to what else I can contribute, I have a bunch of gels (Rosco samples) and large gel sheets (orange and blue) which can either be cut up for strobes or used with large lights. Can't really contribute on the gear side as I use Canon.
Jonathan K Sakkos 9 years ago
Hmm. I think that would be great. you seem to know quite a bit and I think it would help me learn a lot. 9 years ago
Use your 35 1.8G first if that doesn't work, use the 50 1.8D.
Jonathan K Sakkos 9 years ago
Thanks. That's basically what I was going to start with. The 50mm is a bit tight for 7 people. I tried it with them last time when the shoot was outdoors and I had to stand pretty far away to fit everyone.
dath1974 9 years ago
Take njl up on his offer. He knows what he's doing and he's right, you aren't likely to get that sort of offer very often.

As far as other advice goes, I think you got some good pointers already. I wouldn't bother trying to bounce light from an umbrella off of the ceiling, it tends to be a little redundant since the ceiling itself acts as a larger light source when hit with a bare strobe. I think people generally look better when not lit from above as well. . . Your most simple bet would be to use two lights and two umbrellas (or your sheet would work too!), one from each side of the group, but there's a lot more you could do. . .

The trick to L101 and L102 @strobist is to actually do the exercises. Seriously, it helps a lot, even if you just use fruit, stuffed animals, or yourself. . .
Jonathan K Sakkos 9 years ago
I plan on taking him up on the offer. I have already contacted him.

One of these days I will do the exercises. Umbrella should get here tomorrow! No word from the band on a set date, so I may have time to practice beforehand.
njl-photolog PRO 9 years ago
@dath1974: Thank you. ;-)
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