With a Little Help From My Friend, Scott Kelby

In my latest book (co-authored with Vered Koshlano), Studio and On-Location Lighting Secrets, Scott Kelby contributed this tip for the chapter, With A Little Help From My Friends. Thanks, good friend!

Take it away, Scott. . . and if I don't see you before Photoshop World in Orlando, keep playing playing your "ax."

Here’s a shot I took while wrapping up the writing for my Photoshop CS4 Down & Dirty Tricks book. I needed a shot of a football player for one of the techniques I was demonstrating, so I set up a studio shoot with middle linebacker Blake Johnson from a local (Tampa, Florida) high school team.

I wanted to make a dramatic portrait, so I shot Blake against a black background. I used three lights: The main light, an Elinchrom RX-600 strobe, was mounted on a boom stand and positioned in front of Blake. It was placed up high, directly in front of him and angled down toward him at a 45° angle.

I placed two lights off to the side of Blake (the light on the right is not shown in the behind-the-scenes photo, which, by the way, was taken by Brad Moore).

I controlled the spill of the three-light set-up by using three large black flags (the main flag and the left flag are outlined in white in the behind-the-scenes image). These flags, and the light/flag off to camera right, were simple 24 x36 -inch rectangles of black fabric that block the spread of light.

The flags were an important element in creating this dramatic portrait – and I highly suggest you experiment with them.

That’s me on the left, and my tethered computer on the right. When I’m in the studio, tethered shooting is the norm for me.

One more thing: I post-processed the living daylights out of the image, using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Photoshop CS4. Hey, whatdaya expect?

Scott Kelby
Photographer, editor and publisher of Photoshop User magazine, co-founder of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP)

Thanks to the other lighting experts who helped out with my "Help" chapter:
Eddie Tapp
Judy Host
Doug Kirkland
John D. Williamson
David Guy Maynard
David Mecey
Bob Davis
Ken Sklute
Ed Pierce
Eric Eggly
And.... some of the instructors and students at the Hallmark Institute of Photography.