Serving The Material

For sinister Creon and agonized Antigone, I tried "river cop" lighting, with flashes set to either side of the subjects, and a low power fill light on-camera.

Usually, I create theater publicity photos with fairly flat lighting so they will reproduce well in any newspaper. But I couldn’t bear to light Antigone that way. This production, by the Senga Classic Stage Company, is too dramatic for flat lighting, so I applied some techniques from last week’s FlashBus Tour to create images with a bit more tension.

A Greek Chorus, to be sure, but more of a Rapping Vampire Greek Chorus.

I tried a new technique for this shoot.  Instead of using my pop-up flash as a commander to control three off-camera flashes in manual mode, I used the SB-800 with a Gary Fong Lightsphere as an on-camera commander and fill light.  I set up two off-camera, umbrella-bounced SB-600s in manual mode, but I set the on-camera flash to TTL (-2) so I could move closer or farther from the subject without having to manually reset the exposure. It wasn’t perfect, but it worked pretty well. I got a nice, soft fill light from the Lightsphere and some harder, directional light from the umbrellas off to the side.

I'm less afraid of shadows than I used to be, because Strobist David Hobby explained how to "set the floor" of the exposure with on-axis fill light. I used the on-camera SB-800 as the fill for this shoot.

Once again, thanks to David Hobby and Joe McNally for offering the FlashBus Tour I attended last week. The techniques they demonstrated will help me produce publicity photos more worthy of the dramatic works presented in my community.

I was down to two lights here, but I think the fill and key provide drama equal to the material, and that shall be my goal henceforth.

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Filed under Camera Gear, Dance and Theater, Lighting

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