Before you get too deep into this blog post I must be open and honest with you. I break a promise in this post. I also get semi technical but if you are here to learn more about how I do my work, how the images I create are made, and/or how to improve your photography then the broken promise and technical jargon won't matter.
Okay, first the broken promise. When I began this themed blog thread of 28mm for 28 Days I made the promise to you that I would post pictures straight out of camera. But after posting for a few weeks I realized I was repeating myself on the limits and wonderful qualities of the 28mm lens. I needed more. More for me and more for the reader so I decided, "Why not use the lens like I plan on using the lens? Using off camera lighting and photoshop. That is how I work anyway." So, I did just that. A couple of things to keep in mind when using a wide angle lens and lights: 1. You need a powerful light source in order to throw the light into the scene and where you want it while keeping the lights and light stands out of the shot, and 2. Your lights are always in the shot. Well, there are ways around both of these if you are not a lazy photographer. In this post we are going to just put the lights in the scene. Hey, if you can't hide them, use them.
The image above looks like a great, late in the day, nearly sunset image of the interior of my car. It has the wonderful sun flair coming over the steering wheel and that golden color in the sky and especially illuminating the interior. Creating a wonderful, warm, welcoming atmosphere. It isn't real life. It is an emotion created by me, the artist. And it is something I encourage you as artists to understand, manipulate, and embrace. We do not have to rely on what is available or what the day, society, others, see as reality. We can create it.
Here is a shot of what the day looked like and my lighting setup. It was about 2:30 in the afternoon on a mostly cloudy day on the roof of the hospital parking structure.
Something to keep in mind and that I will always preach is practice, practice, practice. Create scenarios for yourself, copy magazine advertisements you may have seen or the photos of other photographers you like. Reverse engineer the lighting set up and try to recreate it yourself. The only way to get better is to practice and do not ever call a paying job practice. That is not the time to practice, that is the time to put your hard work and actual practice to use and wow your clients.
I encourage you to get as much correct in camera. Get the lighting direction, color, feel, and as much of the scene correct when you press the shutter button. This puts you miles ahead once you begin using whatever post production software you choose. It allows you to enhance instead of fix in post.
Okay, back to the situation I created for myself. I saw a car ad with this similar set up. A setting sun and the welcoming vibe. I knew I needed a view, a setting sun. The view I knew I could get from the roof of the parking structure. The setting sun I created by placing a Canon speedlight on a light stand with two full cut CTO gels then adjusted the height of the stand until the "sun" was at the height I wanted.
Here you can see the flash more clearly as it illuminates. Notice the flash on the back of the fully reclined seat. That speedlight has a Lightsphere with the amber dome on it to give it the orange color I need to illuminate the interior. Without this fill flash the interior would be very dark, we wouldn't be able to see into the dials in the dash and that warm, inviting atmosphere would be non-existant.
And here is the image out of camera. It gave me all I needed with the fake sun, illuminated interior, and on my histogram I had all details from zero to 255 (If that went over your head keep checking in because we will go over it soon enough). Once I pulled this image into photoshop I bumped up the contrast and added a few overlays of a warmer colors.
I know this post isn't a complete creation and "how-to" for this image. It is more of an explanation of lighting set up, how amazing this little lens is, and encourage you to practice, alter reality to create your idea in camera and to not rely of post. There is so much you can do with a couple flashes and your imagination if you just start using them and have fun.
If you have questions or comments please get in touch with me. Get out there and have a blast!