Flat Light

We took this pho­to­graph using two light­ing no-nos.

On this shoot, the Art Direc­tor insist­ed we use on-cam­era flash, so we com­pro­mised a lit­tle and used a strobe imme­di­ate­ly behind and to the left of cam­era (pret­ty much the same thing, but slight­ly bet­ter) and did our best to get work­able results.

I posi­tioned the mod­el against the wall (anoth­er no-no) and tweaked the head to at least get the flat light­ing slight­ly direc­tion­al and have the hard shad­ow just off­set her, cre­at­ing a con­tour effect. (“Head” as in strobe head not the mod­el’s head :) ). Light was bounced in from the mod­el’s left (cam­era right) for fill, fur­ther accen­tu­at­ing the flatness.

This is a style I would­n’t nor­mal­ly go for, but it fit with the aggres­sive, some­what abstract look the brand want­ed. It was also a good exer­cise in keep­ing my pho­to­jour­nal­is­tic approach to fash­ion pho­tog­ra­phy (yes I’m aware there’s a poten­tial con­tra­dic­tion in terms there) in check.

I guess the les­son I learned here is that when put in a cre­ative­ly con­stric­tive sit­u­a­tion, one response is to fight it every step of the way. The oth­er is to go with it and push it to the extreme.

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