It’s been over a year since I’ve worked with model Amanda Veldkamp. Amanda was actually the first “real” model I photographed. Anyway, I wanted to do a test shoot using a Nikon SB-910 Speedlight recently purchased in manual mode. I also wanted to get comfortable with a recently purchased Westcott Octa Rapid Box. Essentially, a portable beauty dish. So I contacted Amanda and a shoot was set.
The plan was to photograph with a portable lighting setup in both the studio and the industrial section of the Circle City Industrial Complex (the location where M10 Studio is located). I also wanted to use an Elinchrom D-Lite 4 with an 8” reflector mounted with a round 21cm 30 degree grid. I’ve used this setup previously and like the effect. So, part in studio (I planned to simply shoot against a grey wall & one simple backdrop), and part in the complex.
Amanda arrived ready to go since there was no MUA or hair stylist scheduled for a lighting test shoot. We went through the clothes she brought and agreed on 3 sets. Off we go.
For the first set I hung a piece of translucent plastic sheet on a C-Stand as a backdrop with a Nikon SB-600 Speedlight behind it. I added a red gel to the speedlight. I then had Amanda stand in front of the plastic blocking the speedlight, mounted on a simple Manfrotto light stand. I put the Nikon SB-910 in the Westcott Octa Rapid Box and set it to manual. I triggered both speedlights with a set of Elinchrom EL-Skyports. I took a series of photos while adjusting the speedlights’ power and location to get different effects. The idea was to have the red light create unusual patterns on the plastic behind my model. It was interesting, but didn’t get lots of photos I wanted to use at this point.
I started off with my Nikon D600 in manual mode, speed at 1/160, ISO 160 & aperture at f/9. White balance set to flash mode. I DID NOT meter the light this time because I am comfortable with these settings and the starting setting for the speedlights.
After a change of clothes, the next set was with the Elinchrom D-Lite 4 mounted with an 8” reflector and grid. I set the light so the halo cast by the gridded reflector hit Amanda around her face. By moving the light forward and backward I was able to harden or soften the shadows. I also raised and lowered the light to get different effects. This was successful and I really liked what we were getting. I did have to change up the settings on the camera a bit because of the lower lighting. I dropped the shutter speed and opened the aperture a bit.
Finally, a 3rd change of clothes and we took the speedlights and the Westcott Octa out to the industrial side of the complex and just played around. I had Amanda pose against several old cars, and against several walls. It was dirty, dusty & hot, but we got some good shots. I took one of the SB-600’s with a red gel and place it in different spots behind my model to get a red cast thrown in different locations. During this part of the shoot I moved the SB-910 & the Wescott Octa around constantly. I wanted to get different shadow & lighting effects. I found the shots where the light was straight onto my model or slightly camera right the best. Since the speedlights were in manual mode I adjusted to power regularly.
Overall, it was a good shoot. The main goal was to work with my SB-910 to get comfortable using it in manual mode in a portable octa softbox. I also got a chance to work more with the gridded reflector. Mission accomplished.