by William Lulow
When I shoot images for a corporate brochure or website, I usually like to make the lighting look as normal as possible. There are times when the situation calls for an interesting or arresting light set up, including filtering the light to produce other colors, but for most magazine articles and websites the images really have to look almost as though there was no special lighting at all.
As an example, here is a workplace scene that was lit by three separate strobes placed in particular positions. There was a main light placed to camera left and higher than the camera position. (The camera, by the way was placed up high to give a broad view of the room). There was a fill-in light to the right of the camera designed to add information to that side of the room (and the subject). And, finally, there was a third light placed behind one of the cubicles in the back of the room. It’s job was to add some light to the rear of the room without making it seem obvious. You can see the result of the third light by the shadows on the floor. The subject looks well-lit and the room has some depth to it.
You have to keep in mind that lighting the background is important when the desire is to make the room look “normal.” Light from either studio or portable flash units tends to fall off quite a bit. Sometimes you can shoot these images with available light, but you need a really fast lens (f/1.8) or better and you might have to bump up the ISO setting quite a bit in order to retain sharpness throughout the shot. I find that adding light from flash units gives the scene an extra added quality that you don’t get from available light alone. Not only that, but when I’m shooting in situations like these, I can usually shoot at f/8 or sometimes even f/11 which gives me added depth of field and an overall crispy image.