If you answered yes to any of the questions, then I would be of your best interest on reading on to how balancing light is really easy with a few simple steps.
Have you ever been asked to photograph a subject in a beautiful room at night and make it look like it was night but still expose the subject?
Did you ever want to photograph a TV or a computer screen turned on showing actual images on the screen instead of a dark screen?
Capture button lights of electronics to illustrate functionality to create a more realistic image like the image I took below. As you can see the turntables formed to look like a person lying in bed under the moonlight. You will also notice the turntable lights are on and the videophone screen showing the time.
For this post, I will go over the theory and application on how to balance light ambient and artificial which will allow you to achieve these types of images. If you are a novice photographer, then you might just need to read the conclusion of this article and skip the detailed steps.
STEP 1: ONCE CONCEPT IS CONFIRMED, THEN IDENTIFY THE GOAL OF THE IMAGE
- GOAL: To communicate bedroom DJ eats and sleeps music
- GOAL: Turntable in the form of a person is lying in bed as the moon is spotlighting him in the center of the bed.
You need to know what you want to do before knowing how to do it.
STEP 2: IDENTIFY ALL ELEMENTS OF THE IMAGE THAT IS OF INTEREST THAT SHOULD BE LIT AND HOW
- For this image, I want to expose the following elements:
- Videophone (Flash)
- Videophone screen (Ambient)
- Turntable (Flash)
- Turntable lights (Ambient)
- Headphones (Flash)
- Inside of Window Frame (Flash)
- Window blinds (Flash)
By identifying the elements you would be able to accurately assess which lights affect which object for the desired result.
STEP 3: IDENTIFY THE GEAR NEEDED
WHAT YOU NEED TO REPLICATE MY SHOT:
-Triggertrap Mobile (optional)
– 3 Pocketwizard plus IIIs
– 2 LIGHTS (2 flashes)
– 2 Snoots for flashes with grids
– 1 tripod
You want to be prepared in terms of what gear to bring to create the image you are trying achieve.
STEP 4: ANALYZE THE ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS:
-Ambient light coming from outside
-Ambient light from turntables
-Ambient light from the videophone
-Low white ceiling
The environmental analysis will allow you to determine the placement and power level of the flashes.
STEP 5: PLAN THE LIGHTING SETUP:
(For this step, it helps to have an LED light to see how the light would look fired from the flash) I recommend the Ikan 312b as it is dimmable and dual color.
1. FAKE MOONLIGHT MOUNTED ON WINDOW OPENING CAMERA RIGHT
- Light Type: Artificial Flash
- Light Output: 1/64 power
- Light Modifier: None
- Light Distance: Subject 4’
- Purpose: To be used as a lite fill for the room
This light is used to mimic ambient window light by lighting up the blinds, inner window frames and half of the room.
2. MAIN LIGHT
- Light Type: Artificial Flash
- Light Output: 1/1
- Light Modifier Gary Fong collapsible snoot and grid http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009PF41UQ/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B009PF41UQ&linkCode=as2&tag=postsps-20
- Why: this creates a light spotlight and the grid looks like the blinds to replicate the moon shining through blinds look.
- Light Distance: Subject 6’5 feet
The light is used to mimic direct moonlight by creating that spotlight look .
- ISO: 100 -Why: Reduce noise
- Aperture: F16 -Why: To ensure that most of the image is sharp and so you can see a kind of star shape when looking at the lights from the turntables
- Shutter: 5” which is 5 seconds –Why: So that the turntable lights and the video phone lights are visible
- White Balance: Tungsten – Why: to cool down the image and give it that light blue moonlight look.
- Identify a desired effect in this case I like the star burst look from the turntable light which is achieved by a small aperture opening which is a higher f-number like f16.
- Meter the ambient from the devices with f16 as the fixed variable to determine shutter speed, which in this case is 5 seconds.
- Once the shutter and aperture are finalized to expose for the ambient light, you can now adjust the flash power to expose the other elements of the image.