Photography News | Issue 32 | absolutephoto.com
To get Grace looking in the right direction, it was necessary to bring out the big guns – Peppa Pig on an iPad
The gear we used
For this month’s Lighting Academy technique I used a pair of Interfit S1 heads (£799 each). The S1 is a highly flexible and adaptable flash, equally at home in the studio, or on location thanks to its twin power modes; it can be used in DC mode via its rechargeable Li-ion battery and this gives well over 300 full-power flashes per charge; or in AC mode through the included adapter, plugging in like any other mains model. Also of great use in the techniques were the S1’s wireless functions that are activated through the S1 Remote accessory (£80); this operates at distances up to 100m and allows full TTL (Canon E-TTL ll and Nikon i-TTL) metering, as well as allowing power to be set manually over 7 stops in 1/10 stop increments. At the full-power setting, the maximum output is 500Ws, but more importantly it’s easy to set the lights to different power levels right from your shooting position so you have full control over the contrast ratio.
Above Using an unmodified octa softbox and reflector the lighting is simple, but a little bland. Left With the octa softbox equipped with a grid and turned away from the wall slightly, the light stays soft but is more directed, giving more shadow in the background. Here, a backlight is also used to add some separation. Below Without the backlight and with the reflector turned around to use its black deflector side, light is pulled out of the scene for a more subdued look. Bottom Holding a distraction means you can direct the subject wherever is required. In this case, Peppa Pig draws a mixture of fascination and smiles.
Above Although precise set-ups can be difficult to achieve with children, you can use them in peaceful moments, or where distractions are applied.
After Grace had let off some steam in the garden, it was time to try something more sedate indoors. For the secondset-up, Iwanted to light her sat on a chair in a formal way and with a plain background that contrasted with her colourful toys and outfit; this is where the power of distraction helped. I started off with just one S1 head and an octa softbox positioned so that it was angled down on the chair to create a pool of light and some shadows across the wall in the background. I got this basic set-up working while Grace was otherwise entertained. Shooting in manual (M) exposure mode this time due to the more controllable environment, I set the exposure to 1/160sec at f/16, ISO 200, and took a flash meter reading from approximately where she would be seated, setting the flash power at 5.0 (1/8). Beforebringing inGrace, I also set upa large silver reflector at about 90° to my shooting position to provide a little fill light, but also put the other S1 head in the same position, equipping it with a spill-kill reflector. The latter was set to Group B, but switched off via the remote. This meant I could jump between the light and the reflector without disturbing
her. As in the garden, the light to her front was set to Group A, so that I could fully control the ratio and therefore the amount of contrast. To get Grace looking in the right direction, it was necessary to bring out the big guns – Peppa Pig on an iPad. Grace’s dad held this in a couple of different positions, the most successful of which was right next to the softbox, which gave a slightly narrow look. This arrangement gave some good modelling light onGrace,whichwas improved as I turned the light gradually away from the wall to increase the shadow there. The effect improved further when I added a grid to the softbox as this localised it even more while retaining the required softness. The reflector worked fine, and obviously gave a more rounded look than using nothing in that position, but the effect wasn’t quite as strong as I wanted, so I switched on the second light, setting its power at a low 2.3 (1/64 and 1/3) setting. This gave a nice highlight to Grace’s hair and shoulder, and a slightly more upbeat feel to the image, but if subdued is what you want, it’s likely to be more effective with just the reflector, nothing at all, or a black deflector to draw out the light.
As well as the TTL mode, the S1 has a High- Speed Flash mode that allows shutter speeds of up to 1/8000sec to be used. It has a solid build, too, with its casing made of aluminium rather than a plastic shell, but it’s still portable at 2.85kg including the battery. The head also uses Bowens S-fit style modifiers, so there are plenty of options there.
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