1 Light Photography








Using strobes outdoors has been a challenge for me.  I shoot mostly outdoors, so I tend to rely on using natural light and wide open apertures for my lighting.  I've used strobes mostly during wedding shoots to fill in shadows or when shooting indoors in dark churches.

Since I began venturing into model photography, I've studied every book/training DVD/website I could get my hands on in order to better understand lighting.  I wanted to learn how to use strobes not merely as a fill light, but to add that little extra kick to an image.  

One of the first things I learned was not to start by buying a whole bunch of studio lights.  It's far easier and more efficient to start simple - 1 light.  Once you understand what you can do with that one light, then you can go on and add more lights to your gear.  The idea is to go slowly, adding one light at a time while learning what that light can and cannot do.

This past Sunday, I was fortunate enough to work with Sara, a model from South Carolina who contacted me through the Model Mayhem website.  We shot in the garden and the beach at the Sands of Kahana.  This gave me a great opportunity to practice what I had learned - using a single strobe on a lightstand to supplement/enhance the natural light.

Most of the images we shot were done with a Nikon SB-28 in manual mode, triggered by a Pocket Wizard on my Canon 1DMkII.  This image was done with natural light, and the SB-28 behind her acting as a hair light.


Here we reversed the setup.  The SB-28 is now the main light, overpowering the sun.  The sun is used as a rim light to pop the model off the background.

I also had an Alien Bees AB800 and a beauty dish with me but unfortunately the battery pack for that strobe died on me that day, so I ended up having to rely on the Nikon strobe for the majority of our shots. I was really hoping to try out the beauty dish on more shots with Sara as she was a really great model to work with.  I was able to get the following shot done before the AB800 battery went down.


I was very lucky to have such a patient model to work with.  Sara was a real trooper, running back to her room countless times to change outfits and braving the passing rain showers to keep on working with me up until sunset. 


This was one of the last shots we did.  I softened the SB-28 with a Gary Fong Lightsphere II in direct mode.  One of the cool things about the Lightsphere is that it warms up the color of the flash, which looks pretty cool when shooting with the sunset in the background.

This was a fun shoot.  I got to practice new techniques I had learned and was able to create some cool shots with a model who was just awesome to work with.  Thank you Sara for all your hard work!