Multi light setups are difficult to work with. Often the best approach is to start with a single light—a key light—and then build the arrangement of the remaining lights around it. In this video, photographer Gavin Hoey shows us exactly how it is done:
Hoey starts with the key light, a large Flashpoint Rovelight 600 Ws Monolight. He places it on camera left, meters the light (f/8, 1/100) and then readjusts the power by a stop (f/11, 1/100) so that he can get more depth of field. If you don’t know how to check the power of a light source using a light meter, check out this article.
Here’s the resulting image:
As you can see, the image is really moody and edgy. If this is what you want, stop right here. This is perfect. But if you want a slightly softer look, read on.
For the next shot Hoey brings in his second light, a Flashpoint SL-360 StreakLight. This will fill in those shadows from the first shot.
Again, the light is measured and this is what the resulting image looks like:
Hoey now has his key light and fill light set up. He brings in the separation light. A separation light is one that separates the subject from the background. A little bit of angle adjustment and here’s what he gets:
Now’s the time for the final light of this arrangement. The background light is only for illuminating the background and for creating a bright halo effect.
Here’s the final image with all the lights in place:
Here’s a quick collage of how adding each of the lights impacted the image bit by bit:
As a bonus, Hoey goes on to show you how to add a pastel look to your images (muting colors, reducing vibrancy, etc.) as well as how to blend different backgrounds to your image for the final look.
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