Monday, October 17, 2011

Light Hackers Photography - 'Lighting Deconstructed' 3

Shooting with children is something we have done for the past 20 odd years... Sometimes a challenge, yet always rewarding.

We were commissioned to shoot a model portfolio series for a young girl, Hana who was aiming for the catalogue genre.
I mention the genre early on as I find it important to know which type of genre the shoot is being designed for. This is important when designing and choosing locations, and lighting themes as well as wardrobe. You need to marry these elements to suit this type of work. For an actor's portfolio perhaps, you are looking for a more muted background and flatter lighting style to show the actor as the key focus, and not to be up staged or competing with a busy setting. Also for this tighter head shots are required.

Here you see the first in this series of shots, as the lighting set-up for which we are deconstructing, carries through to both shots.

To add an important element of 'fun' in child shoots we went for an activity theme, and brought in a trampoline... focusing on Hana's ability to be staged, yet look natural in her poses.

We also styled the lighting theme to compliment the wardrobe outfits... in this shot we chose the blue gelled background to set off the blue / purple dress.

Light metering on the skin tones, we established a ratio that set the black BG two stops lower, and then dialled in the gelled accent light to suit.

With the gridded source being a flashgun strobe, it does take a few test shots to aim the light and zoom the lens to have it exactly where you need it.

The full lighting plan for this and the second shot is below:

For a more traditional pose after a costume change we had Hana do a series of standing poses. Again the only change in lighting was the angle of the strobes and the back ground gel... to compliment the red ribbon and prints in the dress.

The BTS shot for this series shows the location of the lights and the set-up used... shot while we were testing the lighting.

We chose to shoot in a large open space that offered us not only room for a mobile studio, but which had a classic art deco style of trellis that worked well as a setting for this final shot.

As always we hope you found this write-up useful and inspiring. Please feel free to leave your comments, and if there are any questions, please feel free to ask.

Until next time...


  1. It's great to see my daughter's photos being used in such a way, and on a great website. I'm honoured, really. This really is a very informative, clear, and professional presentation of lighting set-up, Thanks guys, great job!! Jason from Cardiff.

  2. Thanks Jason... glad it was a success for you as it was a great shoot for us.