CHUCK ARLUND BLOG » living one weekend closer to death

Lighting recipe for a Christmas cook book cover.

BookCover Chase Rivers

I recently photographed a image for the cover of a Christmas Cook Book written by Chase Rivers. Look him up at www.chaserivers.com The Martha Stewart of the south.

I had a few photographers ask me how this image was lit. So here it goes. I actually remembered to take some pullback shots this time thanks to my assistant and friend that day, amazing photographer Davion Baxter. See his work here: https://www.facebook.com/davionbaxter.photo

 

We had talked about possibly compositing the image and walking around with the light sort of doing light painting with multiple exposures. I started thinking I just did not want to do that much editing to this and the final image was needed pretty quickly due to deadlines. I’m not sure why I get lazy and not want to put up multiple lights and meter, but I guess with digital it can sort of make a photographer lazy. NOT THIS TIME!

The tech stuff.

  • Camera: Canon 6D
  • Lens: Sigma 50 1.4
  • Transmitters. Radiopopper jr.x I am able to change power of light from my camera to my speed lights and Alien Bee all on 3 different groups so each light is individually controlled from the transmitter on camera. Pretty cool huh?  Check out Radiopopper here. http://www.radiopopper.com
  • Lights: Alien Bee 800 (pink), Canon 580ex, Canon 430ex
  • Modifiers: Paul Buff 10×36 Strip with grid, Gary Fong Powersnoot with grid
  • Atmosphere: Fog machine and fake snow

 

I brought out a AB 800 with a gridded strip for the main light. It provided the light and definition to Chase, the main subject. It also added some fill to the room by leaving the back of the stripbox not entirely closed. That let some light escape into the room and bounce all over.

The next light was for the children. I wanted to give them a magical sort of glow. I had a Canon 580EX speedlight and put a silver Gary Fong Powersnoot with the grid on. Check it out here. http://www.garyfongestore.com/lightsphere-universal-powersnoot.html#.UV49GKvF2uY

That helped me direct the light only at the kids and kind of made them glow.

The third light was a Canon 430 speedlight and I did not modify it. The purpose of that light was to give the tree a bit of life since it was being mainly backlit from the sun through windows.

Light Placement

Light Placement

My exposures were thought out like this.

Light Placement

Chuck Shooting

The ambient reading was 1/60th sec at f4.5 The difference between the light inside and out was pretty great. I really wanted to blow out the background. The reasoning for this was to make it look like it was cold and snowy even thought it was around 65 degrees and green grass. The trees were starting to become bare from the Fall colors dying out. This was shot on November 20th

I metered Chase the main light at 4.5 the same as ambient. I gave the kids a bit more light at f5.6 and the tree less at f3.5. I’m not sure how much light was being bounced by the back of the stripbox being left open a bit. Looking at the image I’d say about f2

I really like the way this turned out. As far as editing goes, I evened the color out and put one of my favorite textures over it. I shoot my own textures. I used NIK Color FX for the  sharpened look on the clothes and floor. I also use NIK Viveza to do some dodging and burning. Check out the NIK plugins here: http://www.google.com/nikcollection/

 

Some Images.

Out of camera shot.

Out of camera shot.

 

 

Ambient light only

Ambient light only

Tree Light Exposure 430ex

Tree Light Exposure 430ex

Gary Fong Powersnoot exposure

Gary Fong Powersnoot exposure

Close up of Gary Fong Powersnoot

Close up of Gary Fong Powersnoot

 

Main Light AB 800 Exposure

Main Light AB 800 Exposure

Some of you might be wondering about the hotspots on the floor that are not there in the SOOC shot or the final. The lighting shots were photographed after we had already shot and my assistant was not behind the door working the fog machine and throwing snow. In the actual shot, he is back there and his body is flagging the hotspot. Here is a shot of him getting ready to walk inside and then an after shot when no one is outside.  Thanks  Francie Baltazar for noticing. Her work is here: http://www.fireheartphotography.com

Hot spot gone. Being flagged by assistant.

Hot spot gone. Being flagged by assistant.

Hope you could get something out of this.
Look for a new website from me at the 1st of the year. and for my personal work follow me over at www.antonarlund.tumblr.com New photos almost every 3 days.

 

Jen SwedhinNovember 23, 2013 - 9:13 pm

This is super helpful, thanks Chuckie!

ike piyaNovember 24, 2013 - 7:11 am

Thank you for sharing Chuck. Always learn something new watching you shoot :0)

kimberlyNovember 24, 2013 - 8:34 pm

Hi Chuckie- I have a question..

“I metered Chase the main light at 4.5 the same as ambient. I gave the kids a bit more light at f5.6 and the tree less at f3.5. I’m not sure how much light was being bounced by the back of the stripbox being left open a bit. Looking at the image I’d say about f2”

How is letting in less light on the tree register as f3.5.
Isn’t that more light, or more power? This concept has always confused me…
Oh brilliant chuckie please help! 🙂
Or guide me to an answer…:)
thanks!

ChuckieJanuary 19, 2014 - 9:02 am

When metering a larger aperture takes less power. Since flash is measured in output and we meter that with f/stop a low powered flash will meter at a large aperture a high powered flash will meter at a small aperture. It takes more power to blast through a small hole. This is a concept that is very confusing to a lot of natural light photographers. This is something I go over very detailed in my classes and lectures. Drove me crazy for years.

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