Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dual Strobe Lighting P-TTL

In the last article in this series we talked about using a single strobe in wireless P-TTL mode to light a portrait. Now it's time to move on to the first article in dual strobes, one to light the subject and one to light the subject.

As you can see comparing this photo to the ones in the previous article the background is fully lit and there is much better separation between the subject and the background. You'll notice some kick light on the subjects temple and hair. A kick light, or kicker, is a separate light that is used to highlight a certain spot on the subject. Similar to a hair light, a kicker is used to highlight certain parts like cheekbones, lips, jewelery etc, where a hair light will only be placed on the hair.

To use the background light dual purpose as a kicker you put an umbrella on it. Then position the umbrella so the main light falls on the background and the edge of the umbrella is pointing at the subject. You can also by repositioning or blocking the background light use it dual purpose only as a hair light.

The spill off the edge of the umbrella will add the kick. Now unlike a separate kick light you won't have much control of where the light spills, but you can feather the light to control, somewhat, the amount of kick light. Feather means to turn the light source so only the edge of the light is being used. The more you turn the light away the less light is being spilled on the subject. Depending on the umbrella size, distance and location, you may not be able to totally remove all the kick light. In that case you will have to shield the light from the subject by either removing the umbrella or using a gobo. A gobo is a lighting term for go between and is used to block light from areas where no light is wanted.

In the next article we'll use the dual strobes to light the subject on two sides and get some contrast shots. I hope you will join us then.

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