Thursday, November 24, 2011
Fill in Those Shadows with On-Axis Fill Light
I wanted this image to appear as though my model, Britany Walker, was leaning into the wind in direct sun light on top of a building. In reality, she was inside an empty apartment on the 31st floor of the Ashton apartment building in downtown Austin. The "wind" came from a fan and the "sun" was an Alien Bee 800 studio flash on camera left.
A test shot revealed dark shadows under Britany's chin. I knew the image would look better if I filled in those shadows with a second light. Fill light can be created by a number of sources including an on-camera flash, a reflector, a large umbrella behind the photographer, or a ring flash. The closer the direction of the light is to the axis of the camera's lens (i.e. pointing directly at the model) the less extra shadows it will create, and the more natural and unnoticeable (unless it's not there) the light will be.
In this case I opted for a technique I learned from David Hobby of Strobist fame that involved holding a small flash next to my lens to approximates the affect of a ring flash. It worked great in this image, and the light's reflection in the glass gave me an interesting (in my opinion) star burst just below Britany's leg. Beware though, that this technique can still cast unwanted shadows, especially when the model is close to the background. Fortunately in this case that wasn't an issue!
Model: Britany Walker
Wardrobe: Chonie Bradley for the Electric Frenchie boutique.
Hair: Kelli Wilson
Make-up: Bobbi Douglas
Styling: Leonardo D'Almagro