Wraparound light

Canon 5D mkII 85mm f1.2L II lens iso640 1/100@f2.8

The wraparound light is a technique I picked up from photographer Carlos Baez's See the Light DVD.

While I was in Japan this past December, I shot two photosessions at the White Studio in Edogawabashi.  One of the nice features of this place is a wall of frosted windows in one section of the studio.  In both sessions I did some sets where I had the models stand in front of these windows and shot without flash or reflectors.

Since the model is backlit, it can trick the in-camera meter, so a handheld meter works better in this situation (or using the camera's spot-metering).  By metering for the face and letting the backlighting overexpose, the light comes in through the window and wraps around the subject.  It makes for a very soft romantic high key image.

Canon 5D mkII 85mm f1.2L II lens iso800 1/80@f2.8

This shot of Kayo actually took several tries, mostly because we wanted to position the shirt to show as much curvature as we could without being too revealing. It's actually a lot harder to do than you might think. ;-)


For Miyu's session, I tried this same lighting technique near another window in the studio.  This was later in the day, and the light level from outside wasn't as strong as before.  For this shot of Miyu on the bed, I had to bump the iso up to around 1600. Thankfully the 5D mkII handles higher isos extremely well, and there wasn't much noise to deal with at all.


Canon 5D mkII 85mm f1.2L II lens iso1600 1/30@f2.8

I also had to drastically change my camera angle for this image to get the window positioned correctly behind Miyu.  The bottom edge of the window was slightly higher than the edge of the bed, so I had to shoot this while lying on the floor, between two recycling bins underneath some metal shelving against the opposite wall (it was a very small studio).

In the original shot, there was a part of the window frame that stuck out of Miyu's head which bothered me.  By blowing out the background with this lighting technique however, the window frame nearly disappears making it much less distracting and eliminating the need to Photoshop it out in post.


Canon 5D mkII 85mm f1.2L II lens iso1600 1/160@f2.0

This last shot of Miyu is one of our favorites from the session.  It was one of the last shots of the day, right before we ran out of studio time.