In this blog post I’ll be taking you thru how I setup my Canon strobes/speedlits for my latest photo session and creating the photographic concept of “The Queen of Souls”.
We all know that London is a place where you can find almost anything so it wasn’t a big deal to get my costumes and props. My preferable place for hiring the costumes and props is the Oval located store of the National Theatre in London, also it is very near to my place. The only challenge I had to face, when choosing the costumes, was that my main characters/models weren’t with me at the store so I need to go alone and choose the outfit by just simply imagine how it may fit to the overall look and size of my characters, but on the end I think I did a good job.
I forgot to mention, even I should have started with this, that the initial plan for this photo session started after I met and have a chat with Jasmin Ford the manager of “Doodle bar” which was so helpful and nice to agree and let me use their premises for my photo session. Once again I want to say big THANK you Jasmin! …by the way if you are looking for a very cool place to visit and have some quality time the Doodle bar is just the perfect one.
On the day we met at the Vyonyx studio where my friend Miroslava Todorova works. The guys from Vyonyx were very kind to let me use their office as the studio was located above the Doodle bar. After we were ready with all of the pre-production preparations finally I could start to setup my lightings.
For the first concept of “The Queen of Souls” my lighting setup consisted of four Canon speedlits triggered by PocketWizard mini TT1 in combination with flex TT5 and flex II. My key light was gelled full CTO Canon 580EX II on full power which I have it mounted on interfit large octabox on camera right and above. The purpose of this light was to provide my whole scene with the soft and nicely wrapped around my objects quality of light that a large octabox can deliver. I took the decision to colour correct my key light with full CTO as I strategically was planning to create a better and more interesting colour contrast within the lighting range of my scene.
My fill light was another Canon 580EX speedlit which was placed on camera left, behind a white bed sheet. Yeh it may sound weird but after all my scene was quite large and for the purpose of it I needed equally big light source that could help me fill my scene with the right quality of light I was looking for. The next thing I did with the fill light was to place a 1/4 magenta colour gel over my flash as I wanted to break the shadows and create more interesting colour contrast.
The third light on this particular set up was a Canon 420 EX coloured with a full stop of blue gel and girded with Opteka honeycomb grid. I decided to use the grid as the flash was some distance away from my objects and by using the grid I had better control over the size of my rim light. Behind the throne I had positioned my last Canon 430EX flash which acted as background lighting, this flash was coloured in red.
For my background I used a smoke machine as I really like how the light gets tangled around the smoke. Also the actual wall on the background was quite far from my objects and if I didn’t have the smoke I probably would needed more flashes to illuminate the entire, bare, background.
In the graph below you can see a better visual representation of the lighting set up:
Camera settings: Shutter speed 1/125 at F/5.6, ISO 100, auto WB.