Author Portraits of Yoga Duo

May 10, 2018 · 2 comments

Shooting portraits on-location is always a gamble. Is the location as good as advertised? How will the available light affect my ideas about using the environment? Will it be worth the extra cost or time to use it? You never really know.

In this case, yes. That light pattern on the wall in the background would have been very hard to create without a very serious budget, but I got it for no extra cost.

Shooting on location in Färgfabriken

This is Färgfabriken in Stockholm, Sweden. A building that has been a paint factory back in the days, hence the name “Paint Factory”, but now it is used as a café, conference place and art museum. You can also rent this nice room for weddings, I know, because I did.

When I got the assignment to shoot some portraits of two women doing a book about yoga for kids, I had this location in mind.

A very large room where we could both do the portrait photography as well as shooting some yoga pics. Why do only headshots when you have two people that can do yoga as well?

But, the fantastic thing in this case was the luck we had. A very cloudy day, but it was getting better, so the sun peeked out from behind the clouds as I prepared the lighting.

4 lights, but 2 would have been ok

This was in the beginning of last autumn, when I had two Profoto A1 to test before their launch. Here is my review of Profoto A1 btw.

I had just started using them, and was not really in the mood to rely completely on new and untested equipment, so I brought two Profoto B1 to be sure.

Setting the larger lights up for the portraits, I first tested the background so I wouldn´t miss the fantastic sunlight pattern. Then I added one from left and one from right.

Maybe not the most innovative and experimental lighting setup ever, but it works and looks good. I adjusted the light ratio a bit, and it couldn´t been an easier assignment.

Sometimes you don´t need to do much more than add a bit of uncomplicated light to a scene that already looks good.

Same lighting, different background

The photo above would probably have been much more interesting with the first location. But, this was just to illustrate a lot of yoga exercises and a clean background would make them easier to use for the publisher.

I just turned the lights in the opposite direction where there was a white wall. The two Profoto A1 was used to lighting up the background a bit from the sides.

A very good rolling case

I think this also could have been the first time I used my ThinkTank Logistics Manager 30, together with my old Manfrotto padded bag. Since then, I have been using this combination of bags for almost every assignment when I need a lot of lights and stands.

Sooner or later I will write a review of the rolling case, but in short I can only say that it is almost perfect.

/Stefan

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ian Smith May 11, 2018 at 11:37

What I really like about this is that you’ve shown how to take a shot with great results, but shown it in a simplified way, using a simple setup.

I’ll have to admit to getting tired of reading and watching about shoots where it seems to be more about the person taking the pic, and boosting their ‘I’m a pro-photographer because I’ll now show you utter complexity and boost my ego”.

Thank you Stefan, your articles etc are a joy!

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2 Stefan Tell May 16, 2018 at 00:19

Thanks a lot, Ian.
I like to complicate stuff when I get the chance, but most often it is the tested and tried simple methods that works. And therefore I use them.

On location, I have reverted to the simplest setups just because variation and speed is more important to me than going from 95 to 100 % right lighting. I would rather be able to get three or four or five settings out of a session than one or two, on the time I have with my clients. That has also made many of my assignments a lot more lucrative, if you can show more, the clients will most often buy more.

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