Location Portrait backlighting Question

Joined
Dec 26, 2009
Messages
1,266
Location
Philadelphia
Hi- I'm looking to get that glowing backlight look you'll sometimes see in outside wedding portraits, very dramatic environmental type shot with the light wrapping around the whole body or at least the entire head. I couldn't find a decent example to show but I'm hoping you know what I'm referring to. Can anyone offer suggestions on how to attain this look? I know one way is to use the sun and fill flash the front of the subject. I'm looking for suggestions for other lighting situations. I would likely be using a SB900 (or two if necessary) with a PX Radiopopper behind the subject. Some questions come to mind:
1- Should I use straight TTL?
2- Would you use a light-stand and position the light directly behind the subject's head?
3- Roughly how far behind the subject would you place the light?
4- Would you use a light modifier (snoot, etc...?)
5- Would you zoom the flash head wide or tele?

I realize I have to experiment to get the look I want and most of these questions will differ based on the light, location, and subject but if anyone has a starting point they use I'd appreciate it. I've practiced this in my studio but I don't have much room and I always have a difficult time "wrapping" the glowing light behind the subject, it usually just produces a hot spot in one area (such as the top of the subject's head, etc....)

Thanks in advance!!!
Jon
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2009
Messages
513
If it helps I took the shot below just using a pair of speedlights:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/raheslop/5646102494

I've also created simular looks in the studio.

1- Should I use straight TTL?

As already mentioned you're best off with manual, meter the kicker somewhere between the same power as the key to 3 stops more depending on the effect you want, in the shot above the I had the power cranked right up.

2- Would you use a light-stand and position the light directly behind the subject's head?

Depends very much on the effect you're after, I've placed the lighting stand directly behind the subject before, however at the moment I'm starting to favour placing it diagonally opposite key light, alternatively you can use to lights coming in from either side.

3- Roughly how far behind the subject would you place the light?

I like to get them as close as I can to maximise power.

4- Would you use a light modifier (snoot, etc...?)

With speed lights I just leave them bare as you've got quite a control as it is, however with studio lights I tend to use gridded reflector or even a gridded beauty dish.

5- Would you zoom the flash head wide or tele?

It depends how close the light is really, think of it as a zoom lens, you want to zoom in tight enough that you're not lighting the whole world but the same time you still want to be wide enough to light the subject and have light spill round the edges.
 

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