I’m a guy of my word so, as promised at the end of my Exploring Small Strobes – Why Should I Use a Speedlight? I’ll go through both the lighting setup and the post processing to get the final intro image you see here.
You can see my other lighting setup tutorials HERE.
Studio & Lighting Setup
Let’s start with the studio setup. For the background, I used black cotton fabric. I would have preferred seamless paper but… I don’t have any because I never saw the use since I never shot light directly on a black background before. But when lighting a black background, you get to see all the folds in the fabric. Yuk. So… note to self: time to get a black seamless paper background… 😉 I then set my SB-800 on a small table. The table was covered with a black piece of cardboard and glass on top.
Next up is the lighting. I used a combination of studio strobes and an SB-800 to get the final result. The reason I used an SB-800 was to get a snoot on to get the rounded blue halo gradient. Since I don’t have snoots for my strobes, it was easier to make one for my SB-800.
The first shots I did was to get my blue background properly exposed and centered around my model (a sexy SB-800 ;)).My SB-800 (the one lighting) was on the ground with a blue gel and a homemade snoot made out of cardboard.
Once that was done, I added one of my studio strobes on camera right roughly 30 degrees behind the SB-800. I had a 2’X2′ softbox on but I found the light to be too diffused so I went with direct lighting and clamped the white softbox diffuser to both strobes.
Here’s the complete studio setup.
OK, you must be wondering how my SB-800 communicates with my studio strobes so let me get technical for a minute or two. Since this was my first time combining strobes with SB-800s, it was trial and error. The first thing I did was set my SB-800 to REMOTE. Then I hoped that my studio flashes would trigger it. That didn’t work. Deduction, the SB-800 sensor doesn’t work on light trigger. (Update: Thanks to Jim, he informed me that you can set your SB-800 to SU-4 mode so that the light from the studio flashes can trigger it.) So I flipped it around. I used my D300‘s built-in flash in COMMANDER mode to trigger the SB-800. The light from the SB-800 then triggered the studio strobes. Cool! IMPORTANT: Make sure you put your SB-800 in MANUAL mode not TTL. The TTL preflashes will trigger the strobes before the shutter is released. You do this in camera in your commander mode menu.
OK. We got our shot! Yipee! Now let bring it into Photoshop and make it look purdier.
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PS: As mentioned in the video, you can check out the “Portrait Makeover Part 2 – Removing Pimples & Wrinkles” on how to use the Healing Brush.