photography tips

Tuesday's Tips: Lighting the Show!

I had a great time at Photoplus 2016 in New York!  I shot this image during one of my 12 lighting demonstrations. To light this photograph I used 3 Nissin flashes. The main light shot through Rogue Flashbender XL, the hairline light was shot through Rogue grid, placed directly behind her head to backlight her.  The background pattern was created by shooting the flash through a pattern cut out of Rosco Cinefoil and colored using Rosco gels (from my Rosco Location Lighting Kit!). I shot this on a Nkon D800 with a Lensbaby Velvet 56 lens at 1/160 second at f4, ISO 100. I later converted the image into Black and White with Adobe Lightroom.  This image was a hard choice between color and black and white.  Each has a very different feel.

 

Equipment Used:
Nikon D800
Lensbaby Velvet 56 lens
3 Nissin 700 A flashes with portable battery
Nissin transmitter
Expoimaging Rogue Flashbender XL
Expoimaging Rogue grid
Rosco Cinifoil
Rosco color gels
Sekonic D478 Light meter
3 Lightstands
3 Manfrotto Umbrella adapters
1 Manfrotto Spring Clamp
1 Manfrotto Super clamp

I used Tethertools to connect to the display during PhotoPlus.

 

 

 

Below is a photograph that shows you what the room looks like without my light,  This was not shot in a fancy studio but in a small space on a trade show floor.   I underexposed ambient light by having low ISO and fast shutterspeed. Without my lighting, the frame looks like a blank empty canvas.  You add and control your light to set the mood and feeling of your photograph.   That, is the magic of lighting!

Tuesday's Tips: A Smokin' Workshop!

Recently I hosted a smokin’ workshop at my studio in Boston’s historic South End.   Actually it wasn’t smoke, it was fog from a Rosco fog machine!

This workshop was a 2 day advanced Location Lighting Workshop and everyone who attended had previously taken one of my workshops.  We decided to create a complex lighting job! 

It was a slightly rainy day in the courtyard behind the studio, so all the strobes and electrical connections had to be covered in plastic.  The courtyard is 22’ x 40’  minus the space for the garden, we had about 15’ x 30’ to work in.  The key to photographing smoke is to back-light it.  I will introduce you 2 smokin' lighting set ups from the workshop in this blog.

Set Up 1

Main light was Dyna lite Baja 600 with Chimera strip light with barn doors to control the direction of the light.  We set up another Dynalite Baja directly behind the model with a 20 degree grid anda Rosco blue gel.  We placed 4 Nissin speedlights with different color Rosco gels in ziplock bags on the ground and in the tree.  The lantern was lit with amini optical slave with Rosco yellow gel and a piece of Rosco Toughspun to cut the exposure . A cross screen filter was used to create the star effect. Rosco fog machine was at stage left, just outside the frame. 

Nikon D810 Lens (mm): 46 ISO: 200 Aperture: 7.1 Shutter: 1/250

Nikon D810 Lens (mm): 46
ISO: 200
Aperture: 7.1
Shutter: 1/250

In this photograph we changed some of the filters and removed the cross screen filter.

Nikon D810 with a Nikon 24-120 f4. lens. ISO: 200 Aperture: 7.1 Shutter: 1/250

Nikon D810 with a Nikon 24-120 f4. lens.
ISO: 200
Aperture: 7.1
Shutter: 1/250

 

 

Here is what the courtyard looked like without lighting.

Gear used:

1 Rosco Mini V Fog Machine
5 Rosco gels from my Rosco Location Lighting Kit
2 Dynalite Baja strobes, 1, 400ws and 1 600 ws
4 Nissin Di700A flashes ( in plastic bags to protect from the rain)
1 Chimera strip light with barn doors
1 mini flash with an optical slave
5 Pocket Wizard Plus III
2 Pocket Wizard Plus IV
2 PhotoFlex light stands
1 cross screen filter

 

Set Up 2

This is 2 Dynalite Baja and 1 Nissin speedlight set up.  1 Dynalite Baja with a Chimera strip light as main light and the other with a grid and Rosco blue gel as back light.  There is a Nissin speeslight with Rosco red gel in background as well.

Nikon D810 Lens (mm): 100 ISO: 100 Aperture: 4 Shutter: 1/100

Nikon D810 Lens (mm): 100
ISO: 100
Aperture: 4
Shutter: 1/100

 

Behind the scene.

Gear used:

3 Rosco gels from my Rosco Location Lighting Kit
2 Dynalite Baja strobes, 1, 400ws and 1 600 ws
1 Nissin Di700A flash
1 Chimera strip light with barn doors
1Pocket Plus III
2 Pocket Wizard Plus IV
 

Here is our silly group photograph from the smokin' workshop!  Thank you for everyone attending.  Last but not the least, thank you for good friends at Rosco for lending us the fog machine!

Nikon D810 Lens (mm): 24 ISO: 500 Aperture: 10 Shutter: 1/250

Nikon D810 Lens (mm): 24
ISO: 500
Aperture: 10
Shutter: 1/250

I will be at Unique Photo Expo 2016 on June 24 through 26! Hope to see you there! 

Happy Lighting! and Please Don't Feed the Models!

 

 

 

Tuesday's Tips: The Photo Brigade Video Podcast

Happy Tuessday!  I am excited to tell you I was recently interviewed by Robert Caplin for the Photo Brigade Video Podcast at Adorama in New York City.  The video podcast is now available!  I talked about a bit of my career as a photojournalist, my approach to lighting and my  Location Lighting Workshops.  

Check out the Photo Brigade! Great resource for the photographers! 

 

Here are the behind scene from this interview at and around Adorama in New York City!

Thank you for having me!

Tuesday's Tips: Lighting a London Asylum!

My destination Location Lighting Workshop held at the Societies Photographic Convention, aka SWPP in London resulted in some wonderful images and was  an event teeming with an abundant source of gear and creative alternatives.   The workshop was held at the Asylum, at Caroline Gardens Chapel in Peckham, London..  The Asylum was built between 1827 and 1833, bombed during WWII and semi restored.  This provided an incredible  place to hold a lighting workshop as it afforded us endless possibilities to create moods and scenes depicting a variety of situations.  We had 2 great models and masses of equipment from The Flash Center, Rosco, PocketWizardChimera Lighting and Rogue Flash Benders

A004A.jpg

The lighting on this image was an Elinchrom Ranger Quadra strobe with a Chimera Strip Light on the right side of the model. On the left side of the model and slightly behind her was another strobe with a Rosco #83 Blue gel.  Placed in  front of the blue gel was a grid made out of Rosco CineFoil to control the light direction and break up the light beam.  The smoke was created using a Rosco Vapour fog machine.
If you back light your smoke, it will  have a greater effect.  This is true when using a fog machine or when photographing smoke from a cigarette or cigar.  This photograph was shot on a Nikon D-800 with a 24-70 Nikon lens at 35mm, 1/100 of a second at f5, ISO 100.

The photograph below is a mixture of strobe and ambient light.  The light on the models face is from a strobe through a Chimera 30" beauty dish.  The light on the left side of the background is ambient light and the colors were from the bright sunlight  shining through the stained glass windows about 20 feet above the floor.  This was shot on a Nikon D800 with the lens at 24mm , 1/125 of a second, at f 4 ISO 1000.  

 

Here are a few more images from the Asylum workshop.

                

 


 

 

 



 

At every "Location Lighting Workshop™" we create our "Silly Group Photo" Here is  the Asylum image.  Thank you to Canna Gray of Rosco and Ian Pack of The Light Side for all their help during the workshop.

Please join me at one of my upcoming "Location Lighting Workshops™"  Click here for the schedule.

 

 

 

 

Tuesday's Tips: Gronk Assignment for Sports Illustrated!

I had a great assignment on New Year's day photographing Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots for Sports Illustrated at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

 

As I arrived at the stadium, there were still some question about where the shoot would take place.  What I did know was that  I was  going to have about 15 minutes to photograph Gronk and it was going to be somewhere at the facility.   We were hoping to photograph him in a weight room and with the help of the Patriots communications department, that's the space we were given. My assistant and I started moving equipment to the weight room.  Once in the room I had to quickly determine what I wanted for my photographs, remembering the 15 minutes allotted for  the shoot.   I determined I could get 4 different photographs in my 15 minutes.  That meant less than 4 minutes per shot, including any adjustments of lights or make up.  The key to getting this done, is preset all the lights, test them, then re-test them.  We did 2 different lighting setups.  One on the weight machine and the mirror and another compete set of lights for the photographs on a backdrop.  When we moved from the weight machine and mirror photographs to the backdrop, no lights had to be moved.  Both Nikon cameras and all 4 Dynalite strobes had PocketWizards connected, all on the same channel.  You want minimize any chance of anything going wrong.  On a shoot like this I always have back up equipment, I don't need it, but it's there, just in case.  All of the lighting tests had been done ahead of time using my assistant, who is about 1/3 Gronk's size as the stand in.  We rehearsed how the shoot was going to flow.  I put small pieces of tape on the floor as a mark for Rob to stand on.  
 

 After the standing and sitting shots at the weight machine, while I explained to Rob what I wanted for the shot with the mirror, my assistant moved the Chimera strip light on the left back 2 feet and turned the strip light on the right about 20 degrees toward the mirror.  The beauty dish never moved from the first setup to the mirror setup and we lost no time during the quick change from one photograph to another and lost no time when we moved from the weight machine to the backdrop.  When working with mirrors, watch for your reflection and the reflection of the strobes.  This was shot on a Nikon D800 with a Nikon 24-70 f2.8 lens at 55mm ISO 100 at 1/200 f5.6.

How this was lit:

The lighting on the standing and sitting shots were a Dynalite Baja 400WS battery operated strobe  with a 30" Chimera Octa Beauty Dish with an Egg Crate at a 45 degree angle for the front light.  For the back lights I used a Dynalite Uni 400WS strobe with a medium Chimera Strip light on camera left.  This is first soft box I owned and have had ifor over 30 years.  I think I've  gotten my money's worth out it.  On the right side I used a second Dynalite Uni with a small Chimera Strip Bank.  I had a PocketWizard Plus III on camera and on each strobe.  The 4th light in this photograph was a Nikon SB 900 Flash with a Rosco #83 Medium Blue gel, behind Gronk on the bench, pointed at him.  This flash was set on manual and fired using the SU-4 setting in the custom functions. 

For the shot of Gronk in the mirror:  the strip light on the left was moved towards the wall so it became the back light.  The small trip light was turned about 20 degrees towards the mirror and the beauty dish and the beauty dish was not moved.  All of my settings remained the same.  This was shot with a Nikon 17-35mm lens set at 17mm.

The lighting on this photograph was a Dynalite Roadmax 800 power pack with 2 heads.  The front light was a Chimera 5' Octaplus light bank on a Dynalite head.  Opposite my main light is a Sunbounce Sunmover silver and gold zebra pattern reflector.   The hairline light was a Dynalite head  with an extension tube, a grid holder with a 20 degree grid and a Rosco 1/2 CTO filter to warm up the light.  This was shot with Nikon D800 with a Nikon 70-200 f2.8 lens at 1/250 of a second, f5, ISO 100. I used a Sekonic L-478DR light meter to determine exposures and a Hoodman Loupe to check my focus.  All the equipment was moved in ThinkTank cases.  I recently got a ThinkTank Production Manager case.  It is perfect for this type of shoot. 

 

Last,  but not the least,  when you have a shoot like this, be nice to everyone.  not just your subject, but the publicist and PR people.  When I am working on creating a portrait, once I have an image I like, I will show it to the subject and ask "what do you think of the photograph we are creating?"  The subject and I are creating the photograph together, I can't do it without them.  The subject now feels more involved in the photograph, often makes suggestions and quite often give me a few more minutes to create the image.   I gained an additional 5 minutes to my 15 minutes shoot,  because it was a pleasant  experience,  Many may not see this, but it is very important!

Thank you SI for the wonderful assignment to kick off my year!  I love my job!

Tuesday's Tip: Lighting Hyunah

This week's Tuesday Tips is a photograph from my studio.  As a photojournalist and corporate photographer, I do the majority shoots on location, although I do use my studio for some assignments.  Quite often, I use my studio like my test kitchen exploring new lighting techniques and testing new equipment.  All of the light in this photograph was produced using 3 Speedlights and a plant!  Ok, I used some other equipment.

My wonderful model for this shoot is Hyunah Jang.  A superb photographer, now working in Hawaii. 

The main light in this photograph is a Nikon speedlight shot through a  Flashbender XL Pro Strip Diffuser.   The hairline light another  speedlight with  a Rogue Grid  and a 1/2 CTO orange gel on a boom overhead.  For the background we placed a third strobe on the floor behind the screen with a blue gel  and fired it through a plant to give us the pattern on the screen.  We  used a piece of foam core to bounce the light from the Flashbender back on to our model’s face.  ISO 125 Fstop 7.1 and Shutterspeed 1/100.  

This set up works in a really small space and with the exception of the screen and plant is really portable.   The end photograph just does not feel like it was shot in a  really small space.

 

    Gear used in this Shoot:

    Nikon D800
    Nikon 70-200 f2.8 zoom lens
    Nikon 3 Speedlights
    4 PocketWizard Plus III
    ExpoImaging Rogue XL Pro Strip Diffuser (main light)
    ExpoImaging Rogue Grid with gel (Hairline light)
    Rosco Blue gel (background)
    Formcore
    Manfrotto Justin Clamp (to hold a form core)

     

     



    Tuesday's Tips: Chasing Shadows!

    Happy Tuesday!


    For the past two weeks I've discussed how to add color to your background using Rosco gels and Cinefoil from my Location Lighting Kit.  For this week's Tuesday Tips, I want to show you another way to accent your photographs, by adding shadows!  The key to creating shadows where you want them is to have your strobe off camera.  Remember, the smaller your light source the harder the edge.  The angle of your light and the distance your subject is from the background will effect how the shadow is projected.


    1 speedlight :
    In the photo below, shot at a Manhattan costume party, I placed a single speedlight to the left of the camera, lower than the subjects, and shot it through a small Rogue Flashbender fired with a PocketWizard TT-5.  This sent the shadow up and behind the subjects while lighting the subjects with soft light.   I can control where the shadow goes by moving my strobe.  

     

    2 speedlights:
    In this photograph for Harvard University of Professor Robert Lue, I wanted to show the Professor's research on his computer.  The challenge was making an interesting photograph when the only background available was his computer monitor.  The starting point is to read the ambient off the computer, this gives you your base exposure.  When lighting a photograph like this, it is essential that no light from your strobes hits the computer monitor.  This photograph was lit with two Speedlights both with Rogue Grids to control the light on the professors face, while not allowing any strobe light to hit the monitor.   The Speedlight on the right is the main light to light his face:  one stop brighter, (step2).   The Speedlight on the left cast the shadow on the monitor and open up the shadow of his face.   To make sure no light from the strobe hits the monitor, or the shadow I have just created, the strobe on the right has a snoot created out of Rosco Cinefoil.

     

     

    3 strobes:  Two Dynalites and a Speedlight
    The challenge for this shoot was to recreate a photograph that was previously shot in early March, when the sunlight was low on the horizon and casting the shadow on the wall.  The problem was this photograph was shot in July, when the light was totally different.  

    The solution: recreate the original light by placing a Dynalite outside of the door.  To control the direction of the light from the Dynalite strobe, I put a grid over the strobe and added a Rosco 1/2 CTO to warm it.  The strobes were fired through the walls using a PocketWizard Plus lll.   Inside I had a second Dyanlite to light her face, also with a grid and a Speedlight aimed at the dark side of her face.

    I will be traveling next week, so Tuesday's Tips may take the week off.  I hope everyone will have a great Thanksgiving! 

    I hope to see you at one of my upcoming workshops.  The next two stops for my Location Lighting Workshops Tour are at Hunts Photo on December 6th and at the Societies' Photographic Convention in London in January.  I'll be teaching my Location Lighting Workshop "A Day at Asylum with Rick Friedman" (love the title!).  Hope you can join us!  

    Thank you Rick Sammon and Juan Pons for having me on this edition of Digital Photo Experience! Hope everyone can tune in and listen!

    Our friends at Hunts Photo and Video are giving out 20 % discount on Rogue flash benders SM and LG, to our readers, Thank you Hunts!

    Tuesday's Tips: "Throwing Colors at the Wall" with my new Rosco Location Lighting Kit

    I'm excited to announce that Rosco is releasing the new version of the  "Rick Friedman Location Lighting Kit" at PhotoPlus Expo in NY this week. Lots of color gels, Toughspun & Cinefoil,  I'll be demonstrating the new kit at the Rosco booth on Friday 10/31.  Booth 165.  

    If you look in my camera bag, you will  find a plastic bag of Rosco color gels, Toughspun and Cinefoil, in various sizes that I use for my assignments. I use the gels to color correct and create interesting light  while the Cinefoil helps me control the light and the Tough Spun helps softens the light.  All these fit in a small bag!  

    The beauty of working with Rosco Cinefoil and color gels is you can make a boring background into interesting one!  The model is leaning against the brick wall outside the studio.  By adding the color gels shot through holes in the Cinefoil, I was able to project the colors on the wall.  Before the cover shoot we cut a pattern out of a sheet of Rosco Photofoil and taped pieces of different color gels over the holes in the Cinefoil.  My background light was a Nikon speedlight blown through the colored cut out to project interesting patterns on the bricks.   I used a speed light for my background because I wanted to have the pattern to come out clear: a smaller light source will gives you harder edge.  My main light was Dynalite Uni with a grid and Rosco Toughspun.  I used a sheet of Cinefoil to direct my main light to create the feeling of a spot light on my model.  The Uni strobe  was powered by a portable Jack Rabbit battery and both strobes were fired using PocketWizard Plus IIIs.

    This is a strobe photograph, with no ambient light.  I used Sekonic 478 Lightmeter to read the strobe output.  My exposure for this shot was 1/250 second, f5 at ISO 80.

     

    Equipment used for the cover shot are:
    Lots of Rosco color gels
    2 sheets of Rosco Cinefoil
    Dynalite Uni with a grid and
    Rosco Toughspun
    Nikon Speedlight
    PocketWizard Plus III
    Sekonic Lightmeter 478
    Nikon D800

    Thank you Eve Eliseeva for being a wonderful model!

     

    I will be doing a series of lectures and live demos throughout PhotoPlus 2014 Expo at Javtis Center in New York City. 

    Thursday October 30
    Noon-12:30 California SunBounce PhotoPlus Show Floor Theatre
    1:30- 2:15 Unique Photo Booth #937

    Friday Oct 31
    ROSCO Booth #165

    Saturday Nov 1
    12:30 – 1:15 ExpoImaging Booth #134
    2:30 – 3:15 Unique Photo Booth #937

    I will discuss "how-to" on my lighting from my photo assignment, a lot of gear talk as well as fun behind the scenes stories. If you are planning to be there, come say hi!

    Tuesday's Tips: Making great light with your strobe sitting on the camera!

    What can we do with flash on camera?  The answer is A LOT!  

    I like using my Speedlights off camera whenever I can, but there are a lot of times as a photojournalist when I don't have time, or space to set up off camera strobes.  Like when covering news events, catching spontaneous moments with politicians and celebrities, and making quick portraits.

    I often bounce the strobe off a white wall or ceiling to direct my light.  I change my shutterspeed to achieve good lighting balance and to add or freeze motion.  The Speedlight is a small harsh light source, by bouncing the light off a wall, the ceiling, or using a light modifier you can take a small harsh light source and make it a much larger and softer light source.  By using one of a few small light modifiers like a Rogue Flashbender or a SunBounce Bounce-Wall with your strobe light, you can greatly improve your speedlight on camera.  I use the Flashbender at events and the Bounce-Wall for quick beautiful portraits.  

    My rule for Speedlight photography (on and off camera) is: set the camera on manual, and the strobe on TTL.   I use a Hoodman Loupe, to study my LCD screen.  It's worth the money investment, especially under bright sunlight!


    I photographed Keith Richards, Chuck Berry and Leonard Cohen at the PEN Literary Awards at the John F Kennedy Library.  In a situation like this always start your exposure with the element you can not control.  In this case it is the blue sky outside the window.   My camera was set on manual and my strobe was on TTL.   I used my camera's light meter to read the sky outside the window, then I used my strobe to fill in my subjects.  My shutterspeed was 1/250 at f7.1.
    I used a small Rogue Flashbender on my Speedlight to soften the light. The Flashbender is a small soft box you put on top of your strobe, that fits in your camera bag for on camera strobe!

    When photographing in a room with windows you have be mindful of your strobe hitting the window (reflective surface). Either make sure the reflection of the strobe is behind your subject or move to the left or right, so you do not see the reflection.  At this event the only gear I had with me due to the size of the room was a Nikon D-800 with a 17-35 zoom, a Speedlight SB-900 and the Flashbender.  The rest of the gear was outside in the hall.


    I shot this during Presidential campaign in NH.  I was behind the bar with President Obama and the Secret Service was standing right behind me.  There was no time for planning, it happened quickly and as a photojournalist you need to capture the moment.   You never know when you are going to be told by the Secret Service to leave the room, so work fast!  My shutter speed needed to be fast enough so that I could capture the President sharp, but slow enough that I would have ambient light in background.  My shutter speed was 1/40 at ISO200 & F 4.5.  I used a dome for this.

     

    I shot this during Chinese New Year at a neighborhood community center.  Strobe was on camera with a small Flashbender.  My shutter speed was slow enough so there is a feeling of motion in the scarf, but fast enough to freeze the dancers, who were standing still as they moved the scarf.  My shutterspeed was 1/5 at ISO 200 & F 6.3 hand held.

     

    Adventurer and author Guy Grieve, was photographed at Walden Pond, in Concord, MA for The Gurdian. This photograph is completely back lit, giving me the highlights on the water on  his hat and jacket as well as preventing a harsh light on his face.  I used a Speedlight on camera to fill in the light in his face.   My camera was set on manual and my strobe on TTL.   I used the light meter in my camera to read the water to give me my ambient exposure.  My shutterspeed was 1/250 at ISO 100 & F10.

     

     

    The light on the model in this photograph is from a Speedlight on camera bounced off one of my favorites light modifiers, The Sunbounce Bounce-Wall.  The background light is available light.   I started my exposure with the element I could not control which was the background and I used the Speedlight to fill in the light on the model.   My shutterspeed was 1/320 at ISO 200 & F4.  I wanted shallow depth of field, so my background was out of focus.

    I shot this photograph in the lobby of a convention center before my presentation for Professional Photographers Association in Atlanta.  There was no pre-planning for the photograph.  We saw the backlight and created the image within a few minutes.   You can see my shoot with Bounce-Wall at Hasselblad Blog!


     

     I shot this photograph in Watertown, MA after the Boston Bombings suspect was captured.  There were large crowds, many photographers and  many police officers.  I shot this photo with a strobe on camera, bouncing it off of a white satellite TV truck parked behind me.  This gave me a large reflector to bounce my strobe off of.  You want to bounce your light off of a white surface.  You will have a color change if you bounce your light off anything other than a neutral color.  My exposure for this was shutterspeed 1/50, ISO2500 & F2.8.

     

    When you walk into a bar and they are hosting a drag bingo, and you only have a camera and a strobe, what do you do?  
    This is a 2.5 second exposure (@ F8, ISO 640),  hand held, while zooming the lens. The strobe only fired for about a 10,000th of a second, so some of this photograph is strobe and some of it is ambient light. The camera is on rear curtain synch (this is a topic for another blog).

    I have many workshops and lectures coming up.  I'll be at the Hasselblad, Rosco, ExpoImaging and Unique Photo booths at Photoplus Expo in New York,  October 29-November 1
    Come stop by and say hi!

    To see a complete list of my upcoming workshop, please visit my workshop page!


    Happy Lighting!

     

    Tuesday's Tips: Making Gray Skies Blue

    How do you create a dramatic photograph on rainy cloudy day?  Easy, Have a beautiful model with a red dress, a castle and a Rosco CTO gel on your strobe. This photograph was shot in Caerphilly, Wales,  during one of the 10 stops on my Location Lighting Workshop Tour of the UK sponsored by SWPP.   

    In this week's "Tuesday Tips" I'm going to talk about cross filtering technique with strobes.  When this photo was taken, it was raining and the sky was muddy ( See the workshop group photo below). 

    Have you ever set your camera on tungsten and gone outside to shoot?  What happens?    Your photograph turns out blue!  So use this to your advantage on a cloudy day.  Set your camera white balance to tungsten, and place a Rosco CTO orange filter over the flash.   A CTO filter is a color correction filter, converting your speed light, which is balanced for daylight, to tungsten.  You color correct the skin tones of your subject while your background turns blue.

    The model is lit by a single speedlight with a Rosco CTO gel in front of it, shot through a 24x30 soft box on the right side, with a reflector on the left.   Now the output of my speedlight is tungsten, which matches my camera setting. Because of this, the model has proper skin tones and the background is now blue.   This filter is available as part of the Rick Friedman Location Lighting Kit .  Fun fact, my favorite soft box brand is Chimera Lighting, it makes beautiful light!

    To determine your exposure, use your camera meter to read the "Element you cannot control":  In this case it is the ambient light on background.  My strobe is set on TTL and fired with a PocketWizard and if you want your background darker blue, under expose the sky.

     
     

    Tuesday Tips: Mixing Strobe and Ambient Light

    I had this wonderful assignment to photograph a French Musician, Lulu Gainsboro, in Boston.  The assignment was to photograph "his day in Boston".  At the end of the day of reportage,  I did a portrait of him in front of Boston skyline at dusk.

    The lighting in this image is a mixture of ambient light and a single Nikon SB900 Speedlight with Chimera small soft box, fired with a PocketWizard TT5.  My camera was set on manual. To determine my exposure, I read the light on "the element I cannot control".  In this image I used the camera meter to expose for the sky.  I underexposed the sky to get it to be deeper blue. I used a Speedlight to light my subject.  The placement of the strobe and Chimera softbox gave me different effects with my light.  It was early summer in Boston, around 8 o'clock.   My exposure was ISO 640, f4.5 and Shutterspeed 1/8 second.

    In photograph 1 (above), I placed my light on the far side of his face so the light drops off on the near side of the camera. In photograph 2, my light was placed closer to my camera position so the near side of his face is lit.

    Which lighting style you like, is subjective.  I prefer the lighting style in the first photograph.  Having the light drop off on the near side of the face is more dramatic.  There are many stylistic choices to light your subject. Play around, place your light source at different angles, in relation to your subject to see the different effect.  

    Happy Lighting!