Ready to take winter portraits in a studio environment? Wanted to capture that vicious winter blizzard but it never snows in LA?
In this episode the photo guru Gavin Hoey with Adorama TV is going to share a handy trick – creating an outside winter environment inside the studio!
Today we are meeting Gavin Hoey in his small home studio with amazing model Lauren who will sit on a “park bench” – as a part of the photo scene. Behind the bench we’ve got a black background. The lighting for this is going to be a multi light setup which means three lights.
Let’s see what each light individually does and work them out one at a time, starting with our key light, which is an eVOLV 200. Gavin continues: “Now I’ve got it off to the side because if it was centered it would give really flat lighting which isn’t what were going for here.
I’ve also got it in a 70cm soft box with a grid and its the grid that really makes a difference because that means I can get direction and control of the light, very important in a small home studio.
Look at the contrast between the lit side and the shady side and in my mind this is light being cast by a lamppost which is off to the side and elevated up in the air.”
The second light for this setup is around the back and its another eVOLV 200 and its going to act as a separation light. It would put a little bit of light on Lauren’s shoulders, on her hat and just separate her off of the pure black background. It will also put some light onto the smoke when we will use a fog machine.
There is a blue gel on that light to imitate the winter’s evening, nighttime type shot – a cold blue feeling going over her shoulders and hat.
The third light is the optional light. Gavin explains: “you don’t necessarily need it but it can add a little bit of something to the shot because at the moment, we’ve got a key light thats putting light on Lauren and on that side of the bench but the right side is really dark and in shadow, I kind of like that especially with the separation light, but because we’ve got some shadows there we can use this third light with another blue gel to add some blue color into the shadows for that real cold winter feel.”
Now let’s do the shoot!
In some shots, as you noticed, Mr. Hoey used “fake snow” spray can – a very handy tool to spread snow flake-like dust around the subject.
But to add a vast amount of snow in the picture we would require help of Adobe Photoshop. And Gavin’s special plugin!
To get the plugin head over to his blog at www.gavtrain.com and find the Instant Snow V2 photoshop action [free download]
Lets have a look and see how it works. There are four types of snow with this action. We will choose ‘heavy snow’ type.
Gavin continues: “I’ve already got the picture of Lauren ready to go, so all Im going to do is click on the play button and let the action do its thing. What it does is to create three different layers of snow. Its all automated and it just takes a minute or two to complete but once its done, I can control how the snow appears in front of Lauren, so if I choose the top layer and I go get a paintbrush with a nice big brush, I can just paint away any bits of snow that are in front of Lauren on that layer. Then the same for the middle-sized snow and the small snow from her face.”
Once you’re done and you’re completely happy just go up to layer and then flatten image.
Now let’s add some warmth in the picture – light the lantern! To do that, lets go to filter and then Camera Raw filter and from here – get the adjustment brush now to light the lantern. Put the temperature, tint, exposure, highlights and clarity all the way to maximum. Everything else is zeroed out. Then with a nice small brush with one or two clicks, we can light the lantern!
Mr. Hoey continues: “Now if the lantern was lit there would be a nice warm glow around it, so lets add a warm glow by clicking on the new adjustment brush. This time I’ll leave the temperature and tint alone but bring the exposure down to just under a stop. I’ll lose the highlights and I’ll lose the clarity and with a bigger brush we can just add a sort of a nice warm glow around the lantern like that.”
To emphasize that “street light” we mentioned earlier – the one on Lauren’s face, let’s apply a small lighting effect. Go to layer -> New and layer -> OK. Get a nice big paint brush and do a single click in the corner to add the glow from the light.
With a few more tweaks and adjustments the snowy winter bench picture is completed!
WANT TO LEARN PHOTOGRAPHY?
Check out our WORKSHOPS in Los Angeles that teach you hands-on how to make great photos!
One of our closest workshops – Studio Lighting 101 : Introduction to Studio Lighting and 3-Light Set Up
will take place on January 9th, 7-9pm, in one of our Los Angeles studios !!!
Watch the full episode with Gavin Hoey and Adorama TV:
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