Outdoor Lighting Juggling Shot

I recently did a photoshoot to get some new head shots.  Ultimately, for social media websites, which are universally 1×1 crops.  We’ve noticed recently that the crops of photos are wider than in the recent past, showing shoulders and more of the back ground.


Jay Wacker Juggling

I started with my husband who wanted a new profile picture for Quora, his new job. He wanted something appropriately casual and quirky.  He’s doing work as Quora’s “Ontology Architect,” organizing topics, which are building blocks of ideas.  So we decided to have him throw blocks up in the air.  After a dozen or so shots trying, we realized that he wasn’t going to be able keep his chin down and toss the blocks at the same time.  Of course we could always photoshop them in, but that is really cheating.   So instead, we decided to have Larry Liu throw up the blocks from underneath while I took the photo.

I usually like narrow depth of field for head shots, usually f/4.0 to f/5.6.  Sometimes we even like to go down to f/2.0.  We also usually like a mid-telephoto lens with a focal length of 135mm to 200mm.  But for this shot, we decided that we needed a wider field of view and we also wanted to have the blocks in reasonable focus, even if they were going to be blurred by motion, so we chose f/8.0.

There are additional challenges to shooting outside with lighting.  We usually simply connect one of the strobe lights and trigger the other view for the bounce light.  Outside this doesn’t work because there isn’t enough bounce light to trigger.  So we switched to pocket wizards (actually Yangnuo knockoffs).

It was a simple two light setup with the background lit by late afternoon sun.  Jay was in the shade so he could look at the camera without being blinded by the sun.  The key light was a soft box that was fairly straight-on and exposed to f/8.0.  The fill-light was a speed light in a strip box exposed to f/5.6.   The strip box was pretty close to the subject, giving a slightly more dramatic fill light.

The diagram of the setup is below with the resulting shot.  You can see the lighting in the catch-lights.Outdoor juggle lighting setup


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