December 2020 // The How-to Edition

How to Find Your Light | Brandon Hunter

Sometimes I feel my strength is in the studio working on creative beauty, and full body creative fashion the most. Even then, the tools used are different. Let’s start with the creative beauty pieces you see from me. The tools will be a small octabox and a reflector in a clamshell position. This will be the start and the base lighting for the image. You can absolutely use a second light instead of a reflector. The whole idea is to have light coming from below to fill the shadow as little or as much as you like. For me, it’s the reflector or recently an Eyelighter if available. Placement is also key for the light in the octabox. I will always start with the octabox pointing straight down, lighting the subject with feathered light. I’m looking for that soft but dramatic look; for that soft shadow or gradual transition from shadow to light. Once that is set then it’s about adding or subtracting light. Do I want to open shadows more using a white bounce card or v-flat, or do I want to subtract light and cause deeper shadows with black cards or v-flats? I favor using the white bounce versions. Next, I add a second light, usually with a grid, and then a third light on the opposite side.

This past summer I created an image after being tasked to speak to current events through my imagery. I posted it on social media on the Fourth of July. I used this exact setup, minus the v-flats since I shot it in my kitchen area. The actual set up was a B1 in the octabox boomed above a medium-sized round reflector pointing straight down. After I got my base exposure I added two A1’s for my second and third lights, because I couldn’t fit full strobes behind the subject. This is essentially my studio setup as well as adding v-flats. Whether it’s strobe or speedlight in the back, it’s light, and I know what I want to see. That separation highlighting the hair and/or body. Here I am only looking for a frame no wider than the top of the chest. I am still looking for a catchlight but it’s not a must and the shape of a person’s face can make it hard to get the top catchlight in.

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