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Author Topic: Full length portraits at indoor event - best lighting solution?  (Read 3528 times)


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I've been tasked with providing prints as prizes for the best dressed male, female and couple at a local community event in a village hall and I'm undecided on what lighting setup to use.

I'd like to keep the kit as simple as possible, consistent with shooting quickly and providing good quality results that will promote my photography services in the local community.

The lighting kit I have available:

3 x Elinchrom 600 watt monobloc studio lights
1 x Large 'Octa' light bank http://www.elinchrom.com/product/Indirect-Lightbank-Octa-190.html
1 x Small square softbox
1 x Large white umbrella
1 x Large silver umbrella
1 x Small translucent umbrella
Various other Elinchrom compatible lighting modifiers e.g. snoot, barn doors

1 x Canon 550EX speedlite
1 x Canon 580EX speedlite
1 x Elinchrom 'skyport' transmitter
2 x Elinchrom 'skyport' receivers

1 x background stand
1 x 9ft plain grey paper background
1 x Studio Decor reversible pop-up background (black/white)

I've more or less decided to use just the Octa light bank directly in front of the subject, with me standing in between the light bank and the subject (effectively using the Octa as a giant ring light). The grey paper background would be ideal should I decide to replace the background in post production with something a little more interesting. I know this isn't particularly creative lighting, but going by past experience the subjects will want to be in and out as quickly as possible so I don't want to be faffing around with background lights, hair lights, kicker lights etc.

However, I'll be grateful for your thoughts on this, particularly if you have direct experience of this sort of situation. Does my proposal sound good to you, or can you think of a better solution?

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Re: Full length portraits at indoor event - best lighting solution?
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2013, 10:16:31 AM »
I shoot this sort of thing with some frequency and I use umbrellas and a hair light.
One umbrella set up at f11 camera left approx 30-40 degrees off the center line.
One umbrella set at f8 just slightly camera right for fill.
Both umbrellas should be set up with the shaft at least eye level or a bit higher.
Too high and face shadows get too long. Too low and the subjects look like a horror show.

One light on stand with a small soft box over the top of the background for hair light.

With luck you will have enough space to pull the people at least 4 feet in front of the background to let the shadows fall below their heads.
Test before hand.

This is a fairly low contrast setup to ensure that both subjects are evenly lit yet still have enough dimension to show texture. This will produce a very appealing event portrait lighting.

If you wish to get just  a bit more adventurous you can use a white BG and us two lights to light up the BG to an exposure of f16. Lose the hair light and you now have a very contemporary high fashion look.

good luck.


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Re: Full length portraits at indoor event - best lighting solution?
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2013, 11:11:19 AM »
I would use a large butterfly key light as its generally pretty versatile with all sorts of different face shapes.

Add a hard kicker light with a wider spread to cover the shoulders and hair.

The background should be distanced to determine grey or black or even white if you add flash to it.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2013, 11:17:23 AM by RLPhoto »

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Re: Full length portraits at indoor event - best lighting solution?
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2013, 11:11:19 AM »