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Keith Davis's picture

Dramatic lighting

Trying for a dramatic effect by limiting light on the face.

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Tony Stoffle's picture

I am just getting into flash photography, got a couple of Godox TT350 speed lights and an X-pro wireless trigger, cheap umbrellas from newer. What a load of fun this is, learning heaps (I think/hope). I do like the smokey background lighting. Apart from your expression it looks like your leaving a scene devastation, maybe you enjoyed the devastation experience.Not a criticism but imho maybe a reflector on left to remove the black neck shadow.
I'm guessing bare speed light behind, softbox toward top right corner of frame and some sort of flag on left to block stray light. I like the general feel of the shot, would be nice to know what you used for the smoke creation.
My cat dosen't seem to mind the flash experience so he is the model Keep it up. Tony

Keith Davis's picture

Thanks for the comment... What a beautiful cat and I love those eyes... good job.
I too am new to flash photography. I have two canon speed lights and I just purchased a Godox AD200 pro. I was surprised how reasonable it is to set up a basement studio. I have two strip boxes from Godox...$36 each, a couple of speedlight Bowen brackets $13 each, a beauty dish I think about $49, and two softboxes 24 and 38 inch both less than $100. I started out using a black sheet for a background. A few cheap stands, a cheap snoot, a reflector, a gel pack, and I am all set. I bought a Chauvet Hurricane fogger. It is a small one and cost me a whole $40 but it works great to ad interest. Here is a link to a video by Gavin Hoey describing which smoke machine he uses and a few ways to use it. His costs a little more at $179 but still reasonable. You should check out his site he has many great videos on flash.


One day I was thinking of the old black and white movies where they often would just light the eyes for drama, think Dracula, so I gave it a try here. At first I used both strip lights as rim lights but closer to cross light so some light would spill in front. The key light was a snoot with a little grid to concentrate the light to the face only. The lighting worked great but the rim lights would not light the smoke up across the image. So I took the picture left rim light away and just used a bare speedlight directly behind the subject...me...lol. It lit the smoke just find but the neck fell into shadow. I used a reflector but I wanted the rim light on the pic right to be low power and it did not put out enough light to lighten the neck shadow... So a compromise I guess. I could have used a softbox straight on at a low power with another light with the snoot for drama on the face and the last speedlight behind as a separator and to light the smoke ... didn't think of it at the time.


Tony Stoffle's picture

Cheers Butch, I have lots to learn about flash photography, having only ever used 'natural light'. It's a bit like being given the keys to a secret garden, the future is flashy. I am looking forward to the arrival of spring and the plants/insects/creatures to come. Flash has simply opened up a whole new world and I am looking forward to the exploration of it. The cat (Katla) is a lovely chap, the most mellow of the four that choose to live with me. Thank you for the information on your shot, I'll check out the video.