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In this lesson, we will look at the five foot OctoDome3 paired with a Quantum Qflash T4d portable flash unit as our main light in shooting a full-length fashion portrait.

Using this combination, we created a perfect light that we could use in or out of the studio and get consistent professional results every time. As with all our lessons, we show how to set up the lighting in a step-by-step manner.

Once we complete the basic set up, we will bring in a special effects treatment for the background lighting that will add interest and depth to our final image.



(Click on any image below for an enlarged view.)

Topics Covered:

  • One light with a bounce fill
  • Basic two light solutions
  • Using Dome accessories
  • Spot lighting the background

Equipment Used:
You can click on the blue links below for more info.

Lighting Equipment

  • Dedolight DLH4 light head
  • Dedolight DT24-1 power supply
  • Photoflex Grids OctoDome3 Small 3'
  • Photoflex Grids Softbox Medium 24x32
  • Photoflex LiteDome Large 36x48x25
  • Photoflex LitePanel 39x72" Fabric White/Soft Gold
  • Photoflex LitePanel Kit
  • Photoflex Litestand 2218
  • Photoflex Octoconnector
  • Photoflex OctoDome3 - 5'
  • Quantum FreeXWire radio slave
  • Quantum Qflash T4d
  • Quantum Turbo 2x2 Battery

 

Shooting fashion is much like shooting portraiture, with the difference being that the subject matter is the fashion more than the model. Our goal is to light the fabric to show how it flows, its texture, the fit, and the details of the couture.

Photo shoots that revolve around fashion tend to be looser than the typical portrait shoots. It's often best to give the model the freedom to move about in the clothing to show it at its best. We want the viewers to be so compelled by the look, the style, and the feeling we create that they run out and buy the dress as soon as they can.

To give us the freedom in our lighting to allow the model to move around, we use larger lighting devices to cover more area on the set. As the model moves about, we still can cover the texture and details we need to show in the fashions.

 

Set Preparation

We hung a 12-foot roll of white seamless paper from our background pole and lifted it up to about 10 feet. We pulled out enough paper to cover the set and give our model the space she needs to move. Once we had the sweep set up, we placed sections of cardboard on the background where our lights will be set up and where our model will be to protect the paper while we test and set our lighting solution. Once we have our light set, we will remove these “walk-ons” for the final shots (figure 1).



Figure 1

 

Camera Set-up and Settings

We chose to use the Olympus E-1 with the Olympus Zuiko 14-54mm zoom lens. The E-1 is a full-featured digital SLR with the ability to sync to external flash units through the PC connection. The E-1 also has a 12 shot buffer so we can shoot freely without having to wait for the camera to catch up.

We chose as our recording media the Lexar 2GB 80x CompactFlash card. Shooting in the high resolution TIFF setting, we can get 108 images on this card. The card's 80x write speed, its 2GB file capacity, and the camera's buffer will help us have a quick, smooth shooting session with little or no interruptions.

The E-1 camera was placed on a sturdy studio tripod with a ball head. The ball head allows for easy movement of the camera while on the tripod. This is a good choice for shooting fashion as the camera can move about freely to track the movements of the model.

Once we had our camera and tripod set up, we set the camera programs for our shoot. As we mentioned, the Resolution was set to the TIFF mode, the Focus and Exposure Modes were set to Manual, the White Balance was set to Daylight to match our flash units, and we set our ISO to 100 (the lowest setting).

 

We chose to shoot in the manual exposure mode to give more control over the depth of field. Figures 2, 3, and 4 show how to use the Manual exposure mode.



Figure 2

Adjustments for exposure when in the Manual mode are made with the Main dial on the top of the camera and the Sub-dial of the top, rear of the camera.



Figure 3

The LCD display on top of the camera shows the current shutter speed on the left and the current aperture in the center.

The Main dial controls the shutter speed setting and the Sub-dial controls the aperture setting.



Figure 4

 

We took a couple of test exposures, then set our exposure at 1/80 second at f/11.

 

 

Setting Up the Main Light

As we mentioned, we used a larger light than we would for the typical portrait. We chose the 5-foot OctoDome3 with a Quantum Qflash T4d flash head powered by the Quantum Turbo 2X2 battery pack.

For detailed instruction on assembling the OctoDome3, click HERE>

Once we had our OctoDome and Qflash set up, we attached it to a Photoflex 2218 LiteStand, raised the light to match the head height of our model (about 5 feet) and set the light to the right side of the set at about 45 degrees. We wanted the light to rake across the fabric to show its shape and texture. Keep this in mind when setting up your lights (figures 5 and 6).

 



Figure 7

In figure 7, we see the results produced with the OctoDome alone. Our goal of showing the texture and shape of the dress is working well. The position of the main light to the side is allowing the light to scrape across the fabric showing the details of the beadwork on the dress.

To control the contrast across the fabric we added some fill to the lighting set up. For this task, we set up our LitePanel Kit with the white reflector attached and placed it on the shadow side of our model.

Once we had our reflector kit set up, we placed it on the set and bounced the light from the main light back into the shadows on the subject to help control the lighting ratio and the contrast of our photo.

Our assistant set the LitePanel into position (figure 8). We checked for proper placement by examining the lighting effects of the reflector on our model.



Figure 8



Figure 9

In figure 9, we see the results with the bounce fill in place. Our lighting ratio is under control and we still see the shape and texture in the dress. The bounce fill has opened up the shadows and helped to show the fit of the dress by filling in shadows and controlling the contrast of our subject.

 

Here is a comparison of our lighting with the OctoDome only (figure 10) and the OctoDome with a bounce fill (figure 11).

 

 

To give us even more control over the lighting in this shot, we replaced the LitePanel Kit with a Large LiteDome and a second Qflash unit (figures 12 and 13). Because this is a light source and not a reflector, we have much more control over the lighting ratio of our shot. We set the power to ½ that of our main light to give us the light ratio we want and shot the next set of results images.

 



Figure 14

Figure 14 shows the results with the large LiteDome as our fill. We gained much more control and it shows.

The ratio is just where we want it and we see all the detail without losing anything. We have great texture in the fabric and the overall look to the lighting is much better. We could call this shot a wrap right here and have a great image.

 

In the next two figures, we see the comparison of the bounce fill (figure 15) vs. light source fill (figure 16).

 

 

Using Dome Accessories

To take this shot to the next level, we applied a light control tool to the soft boxes in the form of soft box grids. Grids are an assembly of fabric strips that attach to the face of soft boxes. They are designed to narrow the spread of light from the box to about 40 degrees.

Grids help to keep the light from spreading too broadly without effecting the quality of light falling on the subject. The effect should be a general darkening of the background.

The grids attach very easily to the hook and loop strip on the front edge of the soft box (figures 17 and 18). Once we applied the grids to each of our two lights, we were ready to shoot the next set of images.

 

 

In figure 19, we see the results of the main light only with the grids attached, and in figure 20, we see the results with both lights with the grids. Notice how the lighting of our subject changed very little if at all, but we gained more control of the light and where it fell.

We wanted to darken the background so we could add some lighting effects to the background of our shot.

 

 

In figures 21 and 22, we see the comparison of our 2-light set up before and after applying the grids to our lights. Here you can see how the grids have controlled the light on the background and set us up for our next steps.

 

 

To add some color and splash to our fashion shot, we used our Dedolight spotlights. The Dedolight is a tungsten based light source commonly used in television or film production, but is the right tool for our next application.

The Dedolight DLH4 light unit coupled with the DL4 focusing attachment gives this light the ability to put light right where we want it. Colored gels can be installed to change the color to just about anything we could possibly want.

Once we had our spotlight set up the way we wanted, we placed the light on the right of our set and focused it on the background (figures 23 and 24).

 



Figure 25

In this results image we see the effect of the spotlight on our background (figure 25). We have added color and interest and have given this image more of the sense of depth that we lacked in the previous results shots.

 

We reached our goals for this shot, so we played around with the colors and the size of the spot on the background. The following images are a collection of the shots we liked (figure 26).

 



Figure 26


 

We have shown some of the very basic things to think about when you get that fashion assignment. The most important thing to remember is that the subject is the fashion, not the model. You don not need to sacrifice the look of the model to get the shot, but use light to your advantage and pose the model in positions that give the look you want and get the viewer excited about the subject.

 


Equipment Used:
You can click on the blue links below for more info.

Lighting Equipment

  • Dedolight DLH4 light head
  • Dedolight DT24-1 power supply
  • Photoflex Grids OctoDome3 Small 3'
  • Photoflex Grids Softbox Medium 24x32
  • Photoflex LiteDome Large 36x48x25
  • Photoflex LitePanel 39x72" Fabric White/Soft Gold
  • Photoflex LitePanel Kit
  • Photoflex Litestand 2218
  • Photoflex Octoconnector
  • Photoflex OctoDome3 - 5'
  • Quantum FreeXWire radio slave
  • Quantum Qflash T4d
  • Quantum Turbo 2x2 Battery

Recommended Links

  • To learn more about Photoflex equipment, go to www.photoflex.com
  • For more tips and techniques on lighting and cameras, visit www.webphotoschool.com and sign
    up for access to the Member Lessons.

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