Hard Light – working with a reflector and grid


In complete contrast to my studio shoot with Lucy Isgar, the concept for my recent shoot with Rebecca was to use a hard light source to isolate, very specifically, part of Rebecca’s body.  For hard light, the light source has to be small relative to the subject.  This makes positioning of the light even more critical compared to a large softbox, for example, in order to get flattering shadows across the subject.

For this image a single studio strobe was used fitted with a 18cm silver reflector and 30º grid.  The grid prevents the spread of light by channeling the light in more of a tighter path, dictated by the ‘degree’ of the grid in place.  The grids are also known as Honeycomb’s due to the honeycomb like pattern that they have.

With the studio lights dimmed, you can assess the placement of light using the modelling lamp on the strobes.  The light for the above image was placed high, probably about 3 feet above Rebcecca, to camera right almost at 90º to the right of Rebbecca (camera view point).  This was perfect!  It gave isolation to Rebeccas right hand side (camera view point) and fell dramatically off down her body.  Her hand which is just visible also nicely keeps the eye within the frame of the image.  There is a nice triangle of light on Rebeccas ‘dimmed’ side of her face, which is characteristic of Rembrandt lighting.

lighting-diagram-1362326605The backdrop for the shot was unsurprisingly black, however, the model had to stand sufficient distance from it to avoid any light spilling on to the backdrop.  I wanted pure a black background.  If you wanted you could bounce a bit of fill-light back into the model, using a refelector, to lessen contrast to the image, but this is how I imagined the shot before the shoot.

In another image during the shoot, the light was placed slightly further round front side of  Rebecca, and Rebecca was also stood nearer the backdrop.  This produced a nice pool or spot of light behind her.  The smokey eye make up and wavy hair was provided by Miriam King.


On quite a chilly day, even in the studio, Rebecca was a great model and was very patient when making fine adjustments to the light position!  A nice cup of tea helped though…… 😉



2 thoughts on “Hard Light – working with a reflector and grid

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