Do you light differently when shooting for B/W images?

Dear friends, I’ve been lazy… 

Well, not really. I’ve been crazy busy which is the reason I haven’t gotten around to update my blog in quite some time. I thought I’d do a post about lighting today, and how I light my images if I’m shooting for BW’s.

I know most photographers don’t think too much about if their shooting for an color image or a black and white image, which in my opinion is quite sad, since I believe that the lighting has a huge impact on how your black and white images turn out! I tend to increase the natural contrast of my images when shooting for BW. I do this by choosing a small but soft light source putting it fairly close to my subjects. In this shoot I used a Profoto 1×1,3′ softbox set above the model,  at approx 1m in front of the extremely athletic model, named Alex. The images included in this post have not yet visited Photoshop, and are all a pure result of the light only.

I know a lot of fitness and BB images are shot with harder light sources(spot etc), but I like my shadows to be a bit softer, and as long as the contrast is high, muscle definition is well preserved as you clearly see in the shoots below. Another thing I sometimes do, is to make tiny holes in the velcro of the outer diffuser. This lets some light pass out and hit my subject as harder light beams/spots. With some practice you can get a quite interesting light this way. In the picture below you should be able to see maybe four of these “spots”… do you??

In this first shot you see the main light from above.

Alex ©Jon Rune Trengereid

In the three next ones I’ve added a rim light from the models right side, set to about 1/3 of a stop less than the main light.

Alex ©Jon Rune Trengereid

Alex ©Jon Rune Trengereid

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Alex ©Jon Rune Trengereid

For these shots I had my 1Dx with my EF 50mm f/1.2L set to f/6,3 @ 1/200.

My main light was a Profoto Pro-8a with a Profoto 1×1,3′ Softbox. The rimligt was a Profoto D1 500ws with a Profoto 1×4′ striplight.

I hope you enjoyed this post and that you put some extra thought into the lighting the next time your aiming for an black and white image with impact. As always feel free to ask any questions you must have!

-jr-

 

 

 

 

Test shoot with Undis from EB Models

A few weeks back I did a test shoot with the lovely Undis from EB Models. I wanted these fashion images to easily be considered as a set of portraits, and decided to go with a large light source to get smooth and soft shadows. The lighting was real simple and done with a Profoto 5′ Octa mounted with a softgrid as the main light; powered by a Profoto Pro-8a.  Here’s the final result and some info on how we sat up the light to get this look.

Undis by Jon Rune Trengereid

Undis by Jon Rune Trengereid

Undis by Jon Rune Trengereid

 

I used a Canon 1Dx and a EF 85mm f1.2L II set to 1/200 sec at f/2,8, ISO 100. As always I overexposed the image with 1/3 of a stop to make sure I get all the information the sensor can hold. More about that in another blogpost.

I sat up the Profoto head with the 5′ Octa and the softgrid on the right side of the model who was placed about 3 feet from the backdrop. As you probably know the larger the light source the softer the light. There is one other thing that also defines the light quality, contrast. The closer you set the light to your model, the higher the contrast. So if you want soft shadows(where light gradually turns to shadows) use a large(relative) light source, and if you want high contrast(how deep the shadow go compared to the lights parts of your image) put the light source close to your subject. 

The main light was set high with the help of a Avenger A4050CS stand, about 20″ above the models head and approx 3′ in front of her. The direction of the light was set so that the center of the octa points just below her chest. This means that her head is lit by a really feathered light to create soft shadows but with a fairly high contrast, as you can see in her dark eyes. Also there is hardly any spill over to the background due to the direction of the light and the soft grid attached. 

When I sat up the light I initially wanted a rim light on the models left side, but I soon realized that this was not in coherence with the look I was after and dialed the rimlight down 2 stops opening up the deep shadows but without leaving any “visible trace” of a second light source.  Dialing down 2 stops from 2.8 is not something all strobes can do, but it was not a problem for my Profoto D1 250w. I sat up a large black portable wall to flag the light from the camera.Undis lighting setup by Jon Rune Trengereid

 

Thanks for reading and feel free to ask me any questions you may have.

 

-jr-