I needed a change from my usual photography routine. I wanted to take my fashion photography in another direction for a while. I made the choice to use only continuous lighting on my photo shoots. I’ve been focusing on a new #BEDSESSIONS series where I bring a muse to my room and we just create together and see what happens. Using constant lighting on that series has been ah-mazing.
…Let me put it this way, do you ever see an image in front of you as you’re on your way to anywhere and think; “damn, that would make an awesome picture!”? Well, that’s exactly what good continuous lighting allows you to do while you’re shooting!
Instead of my usual rigorous prep, planning and set design... instead of getting a grasp of every part of the shoot just so I could sleep well the night before... I just brought in a talented make-up artist, a beautiful muse and gave us the constraints and the freedom of my bed to create on. Three Ikan LED lights were used as lighting gear and that's it!
With constant light I found I could set up a general exposure & lighting layout for the shoot, like I would with strobes, but before the model even got there. I didn’t have to tailor the lighting to each shot as intensely as I would with strobes, I just let the moment take control. Being able to see the lighting dance on the muse’s body as they moved; it became a part of the dance instead of the venue. By seeing it physically take shape in the moment you get to break down the lights to their core elements. It’s a really great way to get a better understanding of what lighting you like since it’s all right there in front of you. This was one thing I benefited greatly from getting my start in nightlife photography where it was all about ambient light.
With constant lighting the #BEDSESSIONS became this smooth moment instead of semi-scheduled chaos. I ended up with 6 final shots with only one hour of shooting! You take photos that look like they've been sculpted when really, you're just capturing moments as they come with the right people!
One of the cons of continuous lighting would have to be that you’d need a powerful camera that is more receptive to a higher ISO. I was shooting with my Nikon D800 so I could shoot at a relatively low ISO and still get crisp photos without needing to make the lights so bright that they ruined the mood. Of course moody continuous lighting wouldn't be as ideal if you’re trying to shoot a fast moving subject as it requires way more light and a much higher shutter speed. If I think hard about it perhaps the big constant light grids gave me more of a general color wash, but that’s what I was looking for so it wasn't really a con in my situation.
"Depending on what you're looking for, this technique could be a great test for you both with learning to light and shooting based on your core connection with the model over anything else."
Personally, I love seeing what happens when color and light spills onto a subject. Depending on what you're looking for, this technique could be a great test for you both with learning to light and shooting based on your core connection with the model over anything else. Especially if you're trying to learn how to take more emotional pictures of your model, or at least light it like you are! haha
Photography is such an experimental, personal thing; you’ve got nothing to lose by switching it up and shooting with a constant light source. If you can't afford to rent or buy some professional gear, grab some desk lamps, candle light… anything you can physically illuminate a photo with, they’ll work fine too! Just take a leap and push out of your comfort zone, chances are you’ll be pleasantly surprise.