The halo effect – studio lighting course

Paul Ellis followed up his popular Introduction to Studio Lighting course from Saturday 28 June with this blog.

When teaching flash lighting in the studio I normally deliver it without any ambient light in the room. Participants instantly learn that the camera’s shutter speed has no effect on the flash exposure.

We set up a fairly low-key shot with a halo light placed directly behind our model Kaye and made sure that the exposure for the halo was two stops brighter than the light on her face (which is what we exposed for). The key to this shot’s success was making sure the halo came perfectly through her hair.

As it was Glastonbury Festival weekend we made images to honour to it – shots that were a mix of flash and ambient light. We put some yellow/orange gels over the background lights and asked Kaye to move during the two-second exposure. There’s a bit of trial and error to getting this right but it doesn’t take long. We nailed the exposure, which is a combination of the two-second ambient light and instant flash (we simply opened the blinds to let in a little daylight for the ambient exposure). So the sequence is – Kaye starts moving, flash fires exposes and freezes her, ambient light then records her for a further two seconds. The results speak for themselves – there’s a good sense of movement and a hippy aesthetic that I think works very well.