How to Create a Hero Shot in Difficult Midday Light

For a recent vendor project, Pye Jirsa did a stylized Indian wedding photo shoot. With the light and the background being less than perfect, he had to use the power of the Profoto B1 to make the images. It’s always difficult to work in hard natural lighting scenarios, and photographers often use external lights in such situations. Hopefully the tips he shares will be useful if you’re planning to do something like this yourself:

It was a hard natural light scenario, and the fact that the couple and Tai (the elephant used in the shoot) blended with the background, did not make things easy for the photographer. He was standing on a ladder with his Canon 5D Mark III 20 feet from the ground trying to get a natural composition, but the background was adding to the complexity of the shot.

Profoto B1 in outdoor shoot

Pye Jirsa directing the position of the strobe

Jirsa and his crew had limited options. The solution they ultimately opted for was to use a powerful strobe. They set it up on a stand and directed it straight on, facing the couple and the elephant just off to camera left. The aim was to create an edge light that chiseled the subjects from the background.

mixing strobes with natural light

Final Shot

Here is another image from the shoot:

Photographing an Indian wedding

Another Image from the Shoot

It’s incredible what you can do with the right tools and a bit of imagination!

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