professional imagemaker logo


Rolling With The BIG Dog Part 5 - part 2 of 1 2 3

by Damian McGillicuddy Published 01/04/2010

Louise Sumner and Richie (I look like I got dressed in the dark) Walton appear to be coming up the ranks sooooooooo quickly and strongly? The answer is very, very simple, they have put not only time and effort in to learning, but also built a budget for training...and, more importantly, they USE it. As my maternal Grandfather would have said, 'You get nowt for nowt'

So if you are really serious about wanting to be the best photographer you can be, if you want to turn your interest into a PROFESSION and knock the aforementioned and I off our perch then put the time and effort in. Formulate a plan and action it. There's lots of excellent training out there, but please don't expect the best of the best to give their knowledge away for free or train the next wave of their competition for nothing, that's simply rude, ungrateful and very unfair.

OK, that turned into a bit of a rant...Hey ho, I won't apologise so let's move on to a bit of learning.

This instalment has me creating something a little 'Different' for a model's portfolio and is a good extension of my rant. Why? Very simply the equipment I'm using isn't anything out of 'left field' it's pretty straight forward, easy-access gear that can be had by most. The point being that GREAT photography is very rarely equipment-specific. Sure, the better the quality the easier it is to use in general and the more cost effective it is, as it will be in service a lot longer than 'cheap and cheerful enterprises' offering but sadly 'all the gear' doesn't mean 'any idea at all'.

Correct me if I'm wrong but I'm fairy certain that the latest camera manufacturers' multi-thousand pound offerings don't come with a lifetime of experience and hard earned knowledge. Mind you lots of people seem to use the 'P' for professional, I think I'll stick to what I know and continue with 'M' for Master!

Ok, so I'm looking for a touch of the dramatic in this image and good photography is ALL about control. I've married my key light Elinchrom Quadra Ranger with the Damian McGillicuddy designed collapsible beauty dish. The remaining three Quadras are fitted out as so: two are fitted with 18cm reflectors and grids and the final unit is fitted with a bare bulb enhancer from the Damian McGillicuddy Portaflex kit.

The bare bulb enhanced light is my fill. This was placed behind me but central to the frame. The idea being that this light would 'shoot' a broad 'wall' of light up the camera room and I'd vary its output to manipulate the density of the shadow in the image, in other words I'd 'fill them in' hence the light being called the fill light. This light ran at approximately EV -1.8

An interesting point to note is that the lighting modifiers are not exclusive Elinchrom Ranger Quadra products. I myself regularly use them with the Quadras, speedlites and my much loved Quantum Qflash. I know many who use them with all sorts of strange combinations, one gent even prefers them to his Profoto dish.

I love the quality produced by the beauty dish and use it on the vast majority of my shoots. This time though, to my surprise, the spread of light was too wide! As I've said many times great photography is all about control. The feeling, style and mood of the image dictated an almost spot lit effect with a rapid feathering and 'fall off' in illumination.

Dilemma time: I could have just as easily selected a spotlight as my key but I didn't because the contrast and shadow transition of such a unit is too severe and non-conducive to a flattering beauty-styled shot. So the only option left was to restrict the softer, more subtle light from the dish, and make it illuminate only the areas I required... Oh yes, it's always, always about the control.

Contact Damian McGillicuddy

1st Published 01/04/2010
last update 12/11/2019 13:27:13

There are 214 days to get ready for The Societies of Photographers Convention and Trade Show at The Novotel London West, Hammersmith ...
which starts on Wednesday 17th March 2021