Continuous Lighting vs Flash Lighting in Fashion Photography… Part 5

Model Camille Yi and Nicolas Ly in “In the Mood for Love” © Benjamin Kanarek

In Part 4, we were left facing the subject, we had tested the light and had to determine the difference between the foreground and background intensity. That was a very personal decision. You also had to decide how much of the principal subject was going to be lit.

Now that you have done your test shots and are satisfied with how it looks, you can commence shooting with this very simple lighting set up. The first thing to consider is, how will the focal length change the overall look of the image and to this end I highly recommend using a wide to medium telephoto zoom. The reason I say this is that the closer you come in to the image the less intense the contrast will appear between the foreground and the background. It is for this reason, that I want you to experiment with a 16,17,18 to 45,50,70 lens.  This is much more dramatic than you can imagine using this lighting technique.

In the last segment I also mentioned considering a different approach and this has been one of the very seminal moments of illumination for me in my 25+ years in photography and that is “Always break away from your assumed position and orientation, without changing the lighting of the principal person or object…” This approach has always given me some of my best images. In other words, when you have set up the lights for a particular orientation i.e. you are here and she is there, start to move away from that position and start to rotate around the subject having them follow you with a slight change of the head position and eye orientation, then gradually having them follow your movement or moving against your movement. Lay on the floor, or stand up on a cube, or come in really really tight or pull back really far and place her at the bottom right quadrant of the image, taking up only 20 percent of the surface area.

As you start to do this you may find that there might be some additional lighting that you wish to introduce, especially in very wide angle shots for this scenario.

We shall get in to more detail in Part 6…

About Benjamin Kanarek
Fashion and Beauty Photographer. Some of the magazines I have shot for include: VOGUE (China, Portugal, Brazil, Italia, Paris and South America & Mexico editions), RG VOGUE Brazil, Harper’s BAZAAR (China, en Español & Latin America, Hong Kong, Italy editions), L’Officiel Paris, ELLE (Spain, Portugal and Greece editions), Madame Figaro (France), Cosmopolitan (France and Italy editions), Glamour (France), Votre Beauté, Jardin des Modes, Dépêche Mode, New York Daily News, Fashion District News, New York Times Magazine, W (British edition), WWD, Fashion Magazine (Canada), Flare (Canada), Oyster, Tank, WestEast…