This issue we look at the best way to shoot
indoors without a flash, impoving hard-light images in post-production, how to
create a window light effect and much more.
We ask Oli Kellett how to achieve
professional lighting indoors without the use of studio flash.
It’s very easy to use the excuse of not
having certain pieces of equipment to avoid taking photos. Even pro
photographers are guilty of this. But photography is all about using light
creatively. Light is the only ingredient you need and it shouldn’t really
matter where that light comes from. It’s perfectly possible to shoot indoors
without flash. Light coming through a window can be hard (direct) or soft
(diffused). Direct sunlight will provide a crisp high contrast light with
strong dark shadows. If it’s overcast then the light will be much softer with
low contrast and low saturation. A model sat at a window is best lit with
overcast light, which will give a nice wrap-around effect when balanced with a
white reflector on the shadow side. You can use direct sunlight to light a
table still life if you time it right and position the table appropriately.
This image of the milk carton was shot under strong, direct sunlight though the
sun wasn’t directly hitting the curtains. A reflector was used indoors to
better balance the contrast by throwing light into the milk carton and the rest
of the interior. The exposure was set to allow the light coming in through the
window to burn out into nothingness.
Window light effect
I’d like to create an effect with studio
flash to suggest that light is coming through a window to light a model in a
room. I have two Bowens flash heads. How can this be accomplished?
Achieve this with a single light. The
easiest method is to shoot on the ground floor and place a light outside an
actual window using an extension cable. Put it at least couple of metres away
from the window so the light is relatively even and then angle it so suit. If
placing a light outdoors isn’t possible, you’ll need to build a fake wall. Buy
some polystyrene board from a DIY store, 8ft x 4ft and 50mm thick. Cut a window
outline using a craft knife then use strips of gaffa tape to create the pane
divides – the more the better. You can hang black felt or crushed-velvet
material to block off any light that might creep around the sides of the board.
You light should be as far from the wall as possible and the wall relatively
close to your subject; the room should be a decent size.
Wireless flash trigger
Question: I have a set of Elinchrom lights and the Prolinca infrared trigger
that came with it. Sometimes the trigger doesn’t activate the light and I have
to use the sync cord. What am I doing wrong?
technology is essentially line of sight, meaning that the trigger has to be in
a position to see the flash head to fire it, or at least there needs to be
proximate walls for the light to bounce off and hit the flash head’s slave
cell. If this isn’t possible, one wireless alternative is to have a second
light close by, aiming at the main light that isn’t triggering. Your infrared
(IR) trigger will fire the second. Alternatively, you’ll need to invest in a
triggering system based on radio technology, such as the PocketWizard Plus II
or the Elinchrom Skyport Speed Universal.