The Ups and Downs of Lighting


With the help of a friend, I was very lucky to have found a beautiful, very old school, wooden elevator which of course I just had to feature in a fashion shoot. The pressure was on because access to this gorgeous machinery from the past was going to be limited. When I first laid eyes on her, I decided that the elevator itself deserved to be showcased. The gears, the gate and the rope were all just oozing with character. How do I light it in an interesting way

Steven and I spent over 2 hours lighting. I did have a bit of a plan but executing it was more time consuming that coming up with the idea in the first place. We went for the low hanging fruit first. I knew that I wanted light streaming in from the slats in the wood on the left so we positioned a mono head with a 40 grid to prevent light from spraying all over the place. We experimented with the height a little but decided on something just above head height so that the light coming into the elevator would be coming from above instead of below.


Next was the fun part. How do we light up those gears? I decided to back light them and am quite pleased with the affect. The happy accident which I didn’t really see until I got the images up onto the machine was that there are some cob webs in the smaller gear that lit up beautifully. The back lighting also accentuated the teeth on the smaller gear. There are two speed lights very skillfully mounted by Steven. We had to manage light spill so we gridded and snooted both speed lights until we got what we wanted.

We set the main light up last. This was relatively easy after what we had already gone though. Ok, it was actually Steven who worked harder for those lights than I did. He went beyond the call of duty and climbed up and down the elevator 4 or 5 times just to get those gears lit up perfectly. I am happy to say that I set the main light up all by myself! Of course Steven helped me here too. As you can see, he was my stand in model.

My only concern was to contain the light from the main light. I didn’t want light spilling all over the set and especially the back wall. We got what we wanted by placing our model far enough away from the back wall and by having the main light as close to her as we possibly could.

While Steven and I were setting up lights, our hair and make up team were wondering why I wasn’t my usual self politely and sometimes not so politely hurrying them along so we could shoot. In the end it all worked out. Hair and make up had lots of time to make our model look just right and Steven and I got to play around for a couple of hours with lights!

Here’s a picture of Steven when I told him we were done with our lighting and we were ready to shoot….



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