The last light modifier I picked up was the profoto zoom spot small. I hadn’t had a chance to use it until this past weekend when a model wanted to have pictures in a variety of outfits (and without outfits). To change things up I pulled out the zoom spot small and, based on this shoot, I thought a post on this baby might be of interest. When I was researching this modifier I could find almost no info. Here is what I think.
What I love about it is the ability to add gobos to create a variety of window light looks quickly. One minute I had the model up against pink paper with a theatrical window look; then a quick gobo change and a warming gel and repositioning up against a grey studio wall and the set changes from a theatrical stage look to warm and steamy window light. Then off with that, a few strip lights and we are doing artistic nudes:
A caution though: the profoto zoom spot small gets hot. And because it is blocking so much light, you don’t get f/8 at 10 feet with a 1200 watt/second blast from a profoto pack. At ISO 50 (for the Phase One P65+) and about 10-12 feet away from the background, I was shooting f/2.8. If you want real power, you will have to spend considerably more on the full size zoom spot with built in flash. But, for under $1000, the zoom spot small is great fun.
A local photographer that had rented my studio sent me a message last night complementing me on my studio lighting skills and asking whether she could tag along on a studio shoot. I have had other photographers express the same interest. So, perhaps a post or two on lighting setups I like would be of interest.
One of my favourite lighting setups for a glamourous head shot uses three lights and could probably be called “clamshell with backlight”.
April and Stephanie both shot with a P45+ digital back on a Mamiya 645 AFD II.
The clamshell: the clamshell is the main light(s) that will provide soft uniform lighting and it looks like a clamshell. A large softbox (or beauty dish, or whatever) is placed directly in front of the subject and above the head (about six feet high) and is aimed down toward the subject and is the key light. A smaller softbox is placed below the key light at about knee to waist hight and is aimed up so that, combined, the two softboxes are like a clamshell opening to eat up the subject. Of course, the uvula of the clamshell is my camera. Note that the second softbox is powered about a stop or two below the main or key light and serves to fill in the shadows somewhat. This lighting is also great for more mature models as the clamshell will fill in shadows from lines and wrinkles, softening their impact. This is the clamshell part.
The backlight: is a standard reflector situated directly behind (perhaps four feet) the subject and at about shoulder hight. This will add a glow to blonde hair, and is set about a stop or two above the key light.
In the samples above you can see the clamshell lighting in the eyes of the models (April and Stephanie). And I love the glowing highlights from the backlight. Very glamourous.