Continuous Light vs Flash Lighting in Fashion Photography

Teddy © Benjamin Kanarek

I stated that I would discuss a more complex lighting set up of the same setting. Here is my new lighting tip about lighting your next fashion shoot:

Continuous Light vs Flash Lighting in Fashion Photography

When using your standard flash head, i.e. (those that usually are fixed to the hot shoe), they never come with a pilot or modeling light. What I suggest you consider here is placing a 60-100 watt light bulb directly above or below your flash unit to mirror the direction of the flash you will be using. What I also suggest is that you frame that pilot light in the same manner as you did with your flash. For example if you built a “Snoot” for your flash out of an elongated tin can you could mirror that on on your pilot light. The ideal situation would be to place your flash slightly behind the pilot light bulb and share the same snoot. This would then cast only one shadow. However, as the light bulb can be very hot, this may cause damage to the flash unit. You might consider using cold lamps that generate very little heat by comparison, thus allowing you to apply this configuration.

I would like to introduce another element that can be used quite creatively and that is what is called “Barn Doors”. “Barn Doors” look just like what you might imagine, that is two small black cardboard or perhaps metal rectangular shaped modifiers around 6-9 inches wide by 8-12 inches long that frame the flash or tungsten light unit allowing you to frame the light coming off of your lighting source. The more you close these barn doors the tighter the light becomes on the subject you are lighting. It is ideal that you find a way to pivot these panels.  This will make it a lot easier to manipulate. You can add two more barn doors horizontally, allowing you to create a horizontal and vertical window of light. You may wish to use several of these units to create some very interesting lighting landscape in your composition. If the light is too harsh, you may also add a diffuser to soften the light coming from your source.

I hope you have found this mini series helpful and hope it gave you the inspiration to experiment and break with convention. When it comes to lighting, the sky is the limit.

That ends this series. In my next series, I will discuss a totally new lighting set up.

Dress by David Vincent Camuglio

About Benjamin Kanarek
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Fashion and Beauty Photographer. Some of the magazines I have shot for include: VOGUE (China, Portugal, Brazil, Italia, Paris and South America & Mexico editions), RG VOGUE Brazil, Harper’s BAZAAR (China, en Español & Latin America, Hong Kong, Italy editions), L’Officiel Paris, ELLE (Spain, Portugal and Greece editions), Madame Figaro (France), Cosmopolitan (France and Italy editions), Glamour (France), Votre Beauté, Jardin des Modes, Dépêche Mode, New York Daily News, Fashion District News, New York Times Magazine, W (British edition), WWD, Fashion Magazine (Canada), Flare (Canada), Oyster, Tank, WestEast…

  • It’s amazing how you use the things to get a control over the light.. It’s really inspirational.. Until now I have been limiting myself to reflecting the light to my kids faces from the used silver or golden coated paper dishes that you put the cakes on.. 🙂 ie. a pure household equipment.. Thank you for sharing!