I recently booked a hotel room for a couple of shoots; I spend the majority of my time shooting from my home studio so it’s always nice to get out & try glamourous new locations. She’s an outstanding model, some of my favourite fashion shots from my own work have been with her. With someone who really knows what they’re doing I can focus on the lighting, which is important as it’s kind of the point of the test.
The trick to getting great indoors shots is to balance the studio lights with the ambient light in the room. This can be difficult as studio flashes are far more powerful, even at their lowest setting, than a bedside lamp, To get round this, you can either use a slower shutter speed to let more light in, cover the flash with something to reduce its power, or, as I did here, just use the modelling lights. It’s not the most elegant solution of the three, but it does have the advantage of balancing the colours, as the lamp is much more orange than the flash, but the same colour as the modelling light.
The same technique was used here. Hotels are usually pretty good at lighting their best rooms, so I find it an advantage to capture the light as it’s meant to be seen.
For this shot I used ring flash. I’ve never been a fan of it, but it does look pretty cool with fashion models. For me it only really works when the model is right up against the background, as I don’t like the way it lights furniture (this is why I’m not keen on using it much).
As there’s no ambient lighting in this shot, I fired the flashes for a change. I’ve added some vignetting as it focusses the attention on the model & breaks up the plain wall a little.
Finally, if there’s window light, I’ll always try and get a natural light shot. This room had a small window with hardly any light, so the best way to use it was to have her facing the window. I wanted to use the desk furniture, and by shooting from behind & into the mirror I managed to make the most of the natural light & also get the desk in. Shooting into mirrors brings its own problems, not least photos of me in the reflection, but this small mirror made it easy to fill the picture with the model so you don’t see too much of the room. Generally six inches out of shot lies a big pile of lights, camera bags, make-up artists, & various other messes, making it hard to find space for a shot without having to worry about what’s being relfected behind you as well!
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