Kesha Lambert on how a little light goes a long way
I shot this photo during the Photo Cookout in New Orleans where I led a photo walk on the subject of creative lighting for bride and groom portraiture. The vibe, the culture, the history and the food makes New Orleans a city that, simply put, is magical. It was the perfect setting for the event, which included break-out sessions, strolling through the French Quarter, outings to jazz clubs and dining at local restaurants—and that was just day one!
I wanted to create a French Quarter-meets-Brooklyn vibe for the experience. Andrea, a Brooklyn-based bridal designer and bridal fashion brand owner was kind enough to model and style the concept. I was drawn to the building in the shot because of its color and texture.
I love subtlety in lighting; just enough of a kiss of light to enhance texture, contrast and skin tones without changing the look of the scene. If the subject and setting have great character, beautiful tones and interesting light, I want to preserve this in the final photograph. With my lighting setup, I look to enhance, not overpower my subjects. My favorite part about this frame is its tones and the confidence in Andrea’s expression.
A common thread among us wedding photographers is that we like portability in our gear and the ability to travel light. My goal for the photo walk was to demonstrate ways that I work with the Profoto A1 and Profoto B10 during a fast-paced, time-sensitive wedding day. Sometimes that means working handheld or without modifiers. It was approaching dusk when I made this portrait, so I used the B10 with a Quarter CTO on a light stand, the flash output set to three and positioned camera right, hidden behind a street light. The flash head was positioned to push the shadows down.
One of my favorite things about Profoto lights is that they reliably perform at full power. Weddings are multilayered and unfold quickly, so reliability is everything. It may sound simple, but anyone who has ever experienced the frustration of missing a shot because their strobe didn’t fire at a key moment knows that it is imperative to have a lighting system that can be trusted to work consistently. The lights are lightweight, have lightning-fast recycling time, a reliable air system, intuitive functionality and a quick learning curve. Truth be told, I just really love how they’re designed.
Tips & Tricks
TURNING CHALLENGES INTO AN OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE BEAUTIFUL IMAGES.
- Try using the lights bare-bulb. One of the things I love most about Profoto lights is the quality of the light.
- Test and explore with strobes at dusk. It opens up the option to create both a soft-lit photograph that emulates natural light and a dramatic portrait that gives the look of a night scene.
- Observe before you light. Spend time really analyzing the light in a scene. In an indoor windowed space, look at the pockets of light. What is the light touching, and how and where does fall-off occur? Then add light.
- More ambient, less power. Expose for the ambient light in the scene and work with the lowest possible flash power needed to enhance your subject.
- Use gels to match the tone of the ambient light. One of the challenges of preserving the mood of an environment or working in spaces that have ambient light is color cast.
See more from Kesha Lambert at www.keshalambert.com