Fashion Week Day 2: Try the KIS Lighting Technique

When I'm shooting on location, I like to keep the lighting simple and easy – using only one light whenever possible. It's called the Keep It Simple (KIS) technique. My graffiti wall shot is an example. It's amazing what one can do with just one light!

For the main added light, I used my Canon Speedlite 580EX II in a Westcott softbox. I fired the flash remotely with my Pocket Wizard. I say added light because the daylight also played a major role in the lighting.

My goal was to use a mix of the two light sources. Setting my camera on manual, I controlled that mix. As I increased the shutter speed, the amount of natural light entering the camera decreased – increasing the effect of the added light . . . and therefore increasing the shadows in the image.

You will notice some shadows in the opening image for this post. Look closely at the model's face. Below you see the effect of balancing the light from the flash to the available light: virtually no shadows. Again, look at her face.

When shooting with only one added light source, I always have reflectors and diffusers on hand.

Below, my good friend/excellent photographer, Vered Koshlano, who found the model and who styled the shoot, is holding a reflector. In this case, the reflector helps to fill in the shadows that were caused by the added light falling on the face of the model, Minyoung Cheong.

Vered is using the reflector from my Rick Sammon's Light Controller and Tote, produced by Westcott.

I use a diffuser when strong, natural light needs to be diffused.

Re using a soft box (or any light source):
• The closer the light, the softer the light.
• The larger the light, the softer the light.
• For a softer light, don't aim the light directly at the subject. Rather, feather it (tilt it away from the subject) so that the light "spills" onto the subject.

Tomorrow's topic: Styling.

For more on lighting, see my book, co-authored with Vered, Studio and On-Location Lighting Secrets.

To see more of Vered's work, click here.

For a list of my gear, click here and scroll down to the bottom of the page.

For this shoot, I used my Canon 5D Mark II and Canon 24-105mm IS lens.

Explore the light,

P.S. If you are a scuba diver, you may have noticed a wight belt on the base of the light stand. When using a soft box or umbrella outdoors, using a weight of some sort may save your light (which can become a sail) from crashing to the ground in a gust of wind. Weights are a good idea indoors, too.