UPDATE, JUNE 2024: Strobist was archived in 2021. Here is what I am up to now. -DH


On Assignment: Scout and a Shoot Pt. 2

Okay, so we're back shooting at the MCE after our scout a couple of days ago. The weather is hot, so I am glad I choose speedlights. Much less to lug.

Leading off is entrepreneur Biplab Pal, of Zreyas Technology, whose company facilitates product development and manufacturing for other companies.

Let's walk through this and the other shoots...

Note: If you have not seen the full scout of this area we did earlier this week, it's here.

I shot Biplab in this corner of the room:

We'll underexpose the wall with the key and fill light, which are a ways away from it and much closer to Biplab. On top of that underexposed base, I like to use a gridded speedlight to create zones of interest on a blank wall. And in this case, into the corner as well.

With one grid you can create a splash of light behind your subject (subtle or harsh or anything in between) and define the corner at the same time for a little graphic element and shape.

Here is just that light, but at a slightly different angle and intensity:

Stick Biplab in front of that wall with a big key up and over camera right, and he looks pretty good. Set up another flash lower (and closer to the camera) for a little fill-wrap and he looks better.

To create some color I added a warming gel to the key (one-quarter CTO) so the underexposed wall also carried that warmth. The splash was white to accent it. The fill had a Rosco 08 warming gel.

Next, Jason Brooke and Abhishek Rege are from Vasoptic, a startup with technology that aggregates and analyzes blood flow as viewed over time inside of your eyeballs. With this, they create sophisticated vascular profiles which can tell your doctor all kinds of cool things far earlier than before. Like whether you are starting to go blind from diabetes, for instance.

I know my eye scientist/photographer friend Bryan Jones just raised his eyebrows at that line. (Hi, Bryan.)

We'll be keeping the light scheme very similar for the next one. They're a two-fer, so we'll go a little looser. And I'll swap out the gel on the background light and fill to be a CTB to shift the color palette. On a white wall that is already getting some light from the key (albeit underexposed) that CTB will go pastel blue instead of rich blue.

We keep the key warmed up, cool the fill with a one-half CTB and also splash a rim at back camera right.

The rim will also have a one-half CTB, keeping the whole scene coolish. So, more of a color shift than anything. We now have a slight warm look and a slight cool one. Let's go hard cool for the last one.

Okay, here we are in the hallway on daylight balance. Lovely, isn't it. But I want this hallway to have a little more punch.

Jeani Burns' company is a software startup that focuses on large-scale volunteer management. Since there is nothing visually relevant to work with here, I am just gonna make this one look cool and a little tech-y for the Howard County Economic Development Authority, for whom these photos are being shot.

So that's what it looks like on daylight and properly exposed. What if I underexpose the crap out of it, shift the white balance to tungsten, and then add as many more units of blue as the Fuji X100s will give me. (I love the range of control that camera gives you over color balance. And it lets you see the result in the EVF, too. Me happy.)

That's more like it: "Kirk paging Spock. Tell Jeani she is wanted on the bridge."

So let's finish this one with a single, bare LP180 speedlight. We'll put Jeani in the window and throw the flash up into the wall inside the room to use the room as a light mod. We'll hide the flash right behind the wall (in the room) to my right.

Since I am blued-to-the-hilt on my color balance, I am gonna double-CTO the flash to balance for it. That'll get me relatively close to daylight on Jeani. Then I'll tweak my camera's white balance until Jeani looks a normal color temperature.

Interestingly, the blue'd hallway is the only photo today that has any ambient light component at all.

That's pretty cool. It might be a little to out there for the EDA, but I like it. We'll see. I'll shoot a more traditional shot inside the room, and only show them if they ask for something else. Until then, it'll stay in my pocket. (UPDATE: Nope, they went for the blue one.)

So there we go. A quick scout-and-shoot in a fluorescent white room. There are a million ways you could have done it. But that's the way I did it on that particular day in that particular room.

Hope the full process was useful in some small way.

Next: Don't Deny the Obvious


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