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Shoot: Just a Slash of Light

In addition to thinking about how you will light your subject, you should consider what will happen to the light that flies past your subject. When you are outdoors, the excess flash is typically not a problem. When you are indoors, the excess light may be undesirable—especially when your subject is close to the background.

Use A Narrow Softbox To Light The Subject, But Not The Background

For this shoot, we were shooting in an old warehouse. The layers of dust that accumulated on the nearby windows (top-right corner of Figure 19.22) created beautiful golden patches of light that angled down across the wall.

I wanted to light Isaac without having the excess flash fly past him onto the background. The go-to solution is a strip softbox. Strip boxes are much narrower than standard softboxes.

In this case, the Westcott Rapid Box Strip, at 10″ x 24″, was the perfect solution. As you can see in Figure 19.22, the softbox was pushed in tight—right up to the edge of the camera’s field of view.

This served two purposes:

  • Being close enabled me to reduce the power to the minimum, which reduced the effect of the excess light flying past on the background wall.
  • Being close increased the apparent size of the softbox (relative to Isaac), so the light appeared softer.

Lighting Details

Environment: Warehouse

Time of Day: Mid-afternoon

Ambient: Dusty glass windows, sunlight outside

Speedlite: One 600EX-RT

Mode: Manual

Zoom: Zoomed to 20mm

Modifier: Westcott Rapid Box Strip (10″ x 24″ softbox)

Distance: About 4′

Height: About 4′

Trigger: ST-E3-RT Transmitter

Camera Details

Camera: 5D Mark III

Lens: 24–105mm f/4L IS at 55mm

Distance to Subject: 6′

Exposure Mode: Manual

Exposure: 1by160.jpg″, f/8, ISO 400

White Balance: Daylight

Figure 19.21

Figure 19.21 Lighting diagram

Figure 19.22

Figure 19.22 Our location for the shoot

Figure 19.22

Figure 19.23 The narrow softbox enabled me to cast soft light onto Isaac without it spilling onto the wall behind.

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