Wednesday, 26 November 2008

One light....

Some of my recent posts have included some really quite complex lighting set ups.

In fact at a presentation in Denmark recently a member of the audience asked if I was capable of taking a simple shot anymore......

Well, very often I do resort to one light.

Yes, just one!

I was commissioned by 'Hello!' magazine to photograph the hard man of British cinema and football Vinnie Jones

Famed for his performance in 'Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels'

Contrary to appearances Vinnie was the perfect gentleman, even if he was blessed with a rather mischievous sense of fun.

When shooting these 'at home' features it can often be a case of how quickly one can move the lights and camera around the rooms in the allotted time more than anything else.

I wanted to try something rather un 'Hello!' at the end of the shoot

Vinnie loves the countryside and I suggested that we could make a single portrait of him in a nearby field.

So, a couple of barbed wire fences later Vinnie was in position.

Using a single Elinchrom Ranger with a Chimera Medium Softbox from the front at approx 45 degrees around and a little higher than him we achieved this rather pleasing effect

Crucial to this shot though was the sunset.

I underexposed the background by 1.5 stops and used the setting sun as my back light.

Giving lovely rim light on his jacket, and more than a little depth to the image

The client AND Vinnie were very happy with the result


Jan Moren said...

Far from wanting to criticize you (and very far indeed from being able to do so), but:

My first reaction was, "Oh, beautiful portrait." My second reaction was "Um, is that two sunsets you have there?" This kind of hits home the idea of "motivated light" for me, as an example of its opposite.

Unknown said...

Hi Janne

Thank you for your post

1 light only honest! Carried it myself over the fences.
Only one sunset too, shooting straight into the light, angle of light catching the 'dark side' of Vinnie. Not been 'messed with' at all in post (other than dust on the chip!). Would be happy to show you the RAW file.

By the way I found your blog to be most interesting, giving a view of Osaka. I learned quite a bit

Best Wishes


Jan Moren said...

Oh, I believe you about the one light :) I just kind of realized that my brain wondered what the source was, as far as the story in the picture goes. Too white to be a campfire, too soft to be car headlights.

Thanks for the comment on my blog!

Giles said...

Hi Drew,

Just wondering - did you gel the Ranger at all? If not, I'd say the colours have worked very well for you!

Unknown said...

Hey Giles

Not a gel in sight. But I did grey balance it



Pete Tiley / Bike rider. said...


Thanks for that - I am getting exasperated with my quest to shoot strobe/flash at the moment and this reminds me that you can use one light and manage natural light without having to have 37 sources and so on.



Giles said...

Ah, well then... just goes to prove that the simple approach is often the best.

I must say, I really like the complimentary colours of the sky, clothing and foreground.

Anonymous said...


Thank you for sharing your technique. It is always inspiring to see that a simple setup can bring great results.
I was directed to your blog by David Hobby from Strobist, and I am glad. Enjoying your blogs and your website.

Cheers, Arpad

Rob said...

Good work Drew, he looks quite the gentleman, not the kind of man who'd give you a headache with a car door.
You've managed to finely balance the light in a very high range scene.

Unknown said...

I love this actor. I liked previous posts more as they covered more commercial/fashion topics than usual Strobist territorium. But very unusual arrangement of this shot - I remember him as a bad boy so this is a surprise.

Thorsten Overgaard said...

Thanks for interesting insight. I was in the audience here in Denmark and I can assure you that had you presented slides with all of them by only one flash light, the question would have been "so ... you never use lots of lights then?"

I use available light mostly and get asked "so ... you never use flash?"

Apart from that, it's a great portrait, colors and expression. I'm going to get lights for Christmas!

Eric said...

Thank you for sharing with us your technique and this beautiful portrait.

Anonymous said...
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Unknown said...

Dear Drew
The picture you have done of vinnie sat down on the log with his dog walking stick. Iam actually having a booklet made up of people and celebrities made by Mr Walker. The celebrities he has done sticks for the Queen' King of Spains son' Vinnie Jones' Lord Vestey' Duchess of Devonshire and many other names. Iam looking to use the picture you have taken with Vinnie & the stick. Obviously i would not use it without prior permission because of copyright laws. I hope i can be successful in using this picture. I would be stating that this picture was taken by Drew Gardner. Thank you. Kerri.

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