photography: Inspiration and Homage – compositing & multiple lights

Chuck Arlund is a Fashion Photographer whose elegant photography is made even more impressive with the simplicity of his set-ups and use of lighting.

Chuck’s previous guest spot here on the topic of on-location lighting techniques using reflector & flash, was very well received. Therefore I’m very happy that Chuck is graciously sharing more of his ideas with this guest post. Also, check out Chuck’s workshops and mentoring sessions.

Inspiration and Homage – compositing & multiple lights made to look natural

a guest post by Chuck Arlund

This photograph is from a recent fashion story, and has a couple of elements going on. There is an obvious Americana theme, and in that, there is the homage to Norman Rockwell. Who captured that spirit better than Norman Rockwell?

I’ll just tell the story of how the image came about and then describe the technique behind it …

We were shooting at a campground in Lebanon Tennessee. It’s the kind of campground where people park their RV’s and live. We had a very early call time for hair and makeup so the only place to get ready was at the Mom & Pop style restaurant next to the RV park. There was a blank brick wall with bench style booths that was very linear and plain. I though of using that as a backdrop for a photograph. What I did not expect was for a couple of people, very real people to sit down and have breakfast. Leaving a table in-between them. I quickly set up a Canon 580EX speedlight outside of the front door. It was all glass. I wanted it to look like a sunny day. It was very overcast and rainy. I placed the light outside and directed it to resemble sunlight coming in through the door.

I also realized that the model would never be done in time. The people eating would be long gone after the model’s hair, styling and makeup were done. This is the perfect opportunity for a composite image. I got my tripod and positioned it with having the model in the shot in mind. I fired off a couple of shots. The people eating just did not give me a second thought. In fact they did not even look at me.

By the time the model was ready like I had thought the people were gone. I had not moved my camera from the tripod. I had the model pose as if there were 2 people on each side of her. She did a marvelous job. While I was photographing her I noticed that she was not being lit well.

All I had for lights were the Fluorescent overhead lights and the Canon 580 speedlight I had placed outside. I needed to light her face up. I got out another 580EX diffused by a 3×4 softbox to light her.

Here is the final image again, showing how it all came together in the end.

Chuck Arlund

9 Comments, Add Your Own

  1. 1 says

    How fun! Both images blended nicely together. My favorite part of this post is the handrawn diagram. ;-D

    …also would have been cool if you took a pic of her looking like she was about to goose that old man. ;)

  2. 5Maarten says

    One thing I’m missing in the composite image, is the shadow of her left leg. Especially since some ‘hard’ shadows are close to it. Was this done on purpose to make her stand out or is it just hard to do with this method?

  3. 7Chuck says

    Bret, No model releases.
    This was not for publication. It was a test for the model and my personal portfolio. If it ever were published I might try and find out who they were. Seemed like regulars. But they are not entirely visible. I’m treating this image more of a fine art piece anyways.

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