This is another example of a lighting technique that is often complementary to both young and somewhat older models. Young models with flawless skin are easy, one can use essentially any lighting and they look great. Older models pose a bit more of a challenge. If one uses low-key lighting, like in the previous post, it highlights imperfections and wrinkles – not very complimentary. One solution is flat light. Here one would employ a large soft box and shoot the model at almost zero degrees (straight on). This smooths out the shadows cause by “experience” and make the model look fantastic. The closer the light is to the model, the smoother the image and the bigger the box, the softer the light. Now a bit about a soft box!
A soft box is a type of photographic light modifier, one of a number of photographic soft lighting devices. All of the various soft light types create even and diffused light by directing light through some diffusing material, or by “bouncing” light off a second surface. The best known form of bouncing source is the umbrella light where the light from the bulb is bounced off the inside of an umbrella to create a soft indirect light.
A “soft box” is an enclosure around a bulb comprising reflective side and back walls and a diffusing material at the front of the light. The sides and back of the box are lined with a bright surface – an aluminium fabric surface or foil, to act as an efficient reflector. In some commercially available models the diffuser is removable to allow the light to be used alone as a floodlight or with an umbrella reflector.
A soft box can be used with either flash or continuous light sources or “hot lights” such as quartz halogen or tungsten bulbs. We use an Alien Bee Strobe (flash) inside a large stand mounted soft box. Typically to get soft light we cover the soft box with a white diffuser, sometimes to get more directional lighting, a grate is added to focus the light. Here the model was laying on the floor, as was the photographer. The strobe was controlled by a radio trigger.
The beauty of using Studio Lighting is that the Photographer is in control of all aspects of how the light is cast upon the model! During a shoot, we always connect our camera to an HD TV monitor. This allows us to fine tune the lighting dynamically and show the results to the models so they can adjust their poses. We discovered that showing models a shot from a 2 inch square LCD on the back of the camera is not really effective. With this feedback, the shoot can be dialed- in in minutes and the the models are really engaged. Oh yeah, it is also a lot of fun!