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One speedlite to light the whole scene! [Halloween eviromental portrait.]


Recorded on the NIKON D500

Tokina 16-28mm 2.8

Audio Takstar sgc-598

Pixapro 580mkii

Rosco speedlite gels

90 cm easy open octo box

Camera slider

Speedlite bracket

Long Focus Reflector

Yes it's possible! Actually someone once said anything is possible! And it's true. Much of the time we get caught up in the latest gear release (myself included) and the mindset that we need it to create better images, well that's not actually true is it? be honest, so this post is to show it's not what gear we have but how we use that gear! And seeing as Halloween is just around the corner I took the opportunity to create this image with just one speedlite and a couple of modifiers. Using the the pixapro 580 mkii ( a great speedlite with a rechargeable battery that last last and last) one easy open softbox and a long focus reflector and one blue gel and mounting the camera on a tripod. I wanted to create an evening moonlit scene with the light coming through the doors with the curtains blowing and the light creating an edgy look to the masked figure.The face of the masked figure was also to be lit all from that one speedlite lighting the kitchen. Here are a few frames from the scene, you can see how different parts are lit.

Once we have lit the scene to create that mood and feel we want, the next bit of magic happens in Photoshop. We open all the images in photoshops as layers and the process is a s follows,

.align all layers

.add layer masks to all layers then simply paint in the parts of the images you have lit using the brush tool.

.Once you are happy with all of the lit parts of the scene go ahead and flatten the image.

.Add a contrast adjustment to taste.

.Add a hue and saturation layer to taste.

.I added a colour grade at this point to give it a blue cold feel to the image.

.Add some sharpening using  high pass filter and blend mode of overlay.

At this point you can flatten the image.

.Duplicate the image then use the blend mode of overlay, using the marquee tool with a feather of 500px select the desired area then simply hit delete, this will give you a vignette which you can now control using the opacity slider.

.To finish this image and give it a wide cinematic feel I added the letterbox (black bars top and bottom) 

It's pretty amazing what we can make with the tools we have, and it can also make us look at a scene differently when lighting it. This was a great fun excersise and I hope you can use this simple example  to motivate you to have a go as we are only ever limited by our own imagination

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