I’ve been working with my studio lights, reflectors and gobos to get a moody high contrast mood in some monochrome portrait shots. There’s a bit of work involved and truth be told I haven’t been finding it that easy with my studio lights. One of the issue has been the ambient light in the rooms. Unless the room is very dark the effect of the hard light from the strobes is not as harsh as you may want. With little ambient light it’s a tad awkward to see what you’re doing so all in all it’s been a challenge for me. A way to resolve this problem is to use a high flash sync’ speed. By using a fast shutter speed the effect of the ambient light is considerably reduced. Directing the flash to the area of interest and reducing the amount of light spill by use of a snoot further helps create a more dramatic shot. The monochrome shot in this post illustrates this to some extent. Always tricky to shoot yourself, but this may give you and idea of what I mean. This photo was taken at midday today on a pretty bright and sunny day in a well lit office. By using a high flash sync’ speed I could use a shutter speed of 1/8000 second. This in conjunction with an ISO of 100 helps to significantly darken the background. (Aperture was at f2.8 to reduce depth of field). This is great news for me as I need much less equipment to carry with me. Furthermore, the time of day when the shots are taken are less critical as is the location.
The colour image was taken a few minutes later. Same settings as for the monochrome image but this time a second speedlight fitted with an orange gel was placed behind me. These are very quick and dirty shots taken a little earlier today really as a proof of concept. With careful positioning of speedlights I suspect some very lovely images can be captured. Oh, and a better looking model wouldn’t go amiss!