by Dave Wall Published 01/08/2012
I have recently been asked by FujiFilm to some run seminars up and down the country showcasing their new (and rather spiffing) X Pro-1 mirrorless camera. To go hand in hand with this a number of signature images were required to show its capabilities. The X Pro-1 is a luxury lifestyle purchase and I needed a set of images that purvey this.
Not wanting to take the easy route...as for some reason I never do. I decided I would head off down the product photography route rather than street shooting, as I wanted a different angle than anything else that is out there at present. Hmmm...but which products and how to shoot them?
Well the first was easy; my 'new' old classic motorbike. Yes I know - midlife crisis...but who cares?! It fitted the bill perfectly being sexy and definitely a lifestyle choice of product to showcase this stunning and groundbreaking camera.
This then got me thinking...how to light said motorcycle to make an impact?
My photography on the whole is highly stylised and I wanted this image to be no different. I could have thrown a stack of lights at it and I am sure it would have looked fabulous. However, I wanted something different in terms of lighting. So I chose just to use one light!
Sorry, let me explain the reasoning why...
When I first ventured on my own as a professional photographer, digital imaging was in its infancy. Money was tight but I managed to scrape together enough money to buy a digital camera back, which was pretty old and well-used but it was my pride and joy. As this new purchase pretty much broke the bank I only had enough money to buy one studio strobe and one soft box.
As a 'commercial photographer' in a highly competitive field this clearly wasn't going to be an easy ride. As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention, so a new way of lighting products (with only one light) was needed. The obvious solution would have been...buy more lights, however, that just wasn't an option at the time. Instead I decided to make the best of a bad job and put my single studio head to good use by photographing products multiple times with just the one studio head, each exposure with a slight movement of the light, to illuminate a different area of the product. From here all the images would be stitched together in Photoshop to create one unique image.
It is strange how many years on, and with far too many studio strobes at my disposal, I still gravitate towards this multiple exposure technique. It is now not out of necessity but out of a passion for shooting this way, as it gives lighting effects that just can't be produced any other way. It has evolved into my signature style and would result in my old BSA cafe racer taking on a whole new lease of life.
The 'art' of shooting with only one light to give the impression of many is relatively easy IF you work in a methodical planned way. It may have been born out of necessity, however, now it gives me a 'look' that straight lighting just can't achieve.
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