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Lighting with Flash: Portrait of a Beekeeper and His Bees

with David Hobby

Video: Setting the stage

(music playing) All right. So we are basically in a little pocket of shade. The sun is very close to, going to be peeking behind those trees over there in a minute. so that's what we're going to be working against time wise. So what I'm going to, going to do is, I'm going to put the beekeeper, our beekeeper Jim, up in here. He's wearing all white with a black mask over his face, which is going to give us all kinds of problems that we'll to have to solve lighting wise. This area back in here is going to be very out of focus.
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Watch the Online Video Course Lighting with Flash: Portrait of a Beekeeper and His Bees
29m 12s Intermediate Jul 05, 2013

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In this installment of the Lighting with Flash series, photographer and Strobist.com publisher David Hobby employs compact flash units to light an outdoor environmental portrait of a beekeeper and his bees. For the portrait, David balances the light from two strobes with late-afternoon sunshine, using a snap-on grid to focus the light from one strobe and adjusting his camera's white balance to add warmth to shade-lit skin tones.

Next, David addresses a more challenging subject: a humming hive of honeybees. Working quickly for obvious reasons, David uses his camera's automatic, through-the-lens (TTL) flash-exposure mode along with a ring-light adaptor for the strobe. The course concludes with some insights on David's approach to lighting and his choice of subject matter.

Topics include:
  • Balancing daylight and flash
  • Using a grid modifier to control flash lighting
  • Using TTL mode to work quickly
  • Choosing subjects that make good stories
Subject:
Photography
Author:
David Hobby

Setting the stage

(music playing) All right. So we are basically in a little pocket of shade. The sun is very close to, going to be peeking behind those trees over there in a minute. so that's what we're going to be working against time wise. So what I'm going to, going to do is, I'm going to put the beekeeper, our beekeeper Jim, up in here. He's wearing all white with a black mask over his face, which is going to give us all kinds of problems that we'll to have to solve lighting wise. This area back in here is going to be very out of focus.

there's actually a camera sitting back there now, which we'll move before we shoot. But one thing I'm going to do first is to check, check my ambient and see how that looks. It's nice and warm and dark. I've got this set on cloudy white balance or actually, open shade white balance. Because this area of open sky in the back is basically going to be a big soft box on Jim. And it's going to light him up to an area which is going to be very close to where we need it level wise. But that's going to leave the bees dark. So what I've done is, there it is, without, I've got a flash in the back and I'm kissing it with just a little bit of light coming in.

So that reveals that without calling a lot of attention to it. So, it's out of focus and it's lit, it's warm in the back so, it'll be a nice element without being just, hit you over the head. It's a bee box. Get it? so, that's going to leave us our beekeeper in front and we're going to have problems getting his face so, we're going to put a special on his face and by special I mean a gridded light that is designed just to hit his face. Dave Keil, my voice activated light stand is going to be walking that around, and keeping it aimed at his face. And I'm probably going to have a second special on the bees, but we haven't gotten that far ahead yet.

So instead of lighting the beekeeper, and lighting the whole environment, we're letting the, the open shade light the beekeeper. And then we're going in and tweaking the environment, whether that is the bee box in the back, or his face behind the, behind the dark screen, and we're going to try to solve whatever problems that our environment gives us once we get him lit correctly with the natural light.

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