I’d been meaning to do this for a while and have just picked up a few more scrim/reflector panels which gave the opportunity for this ten-minute test.

This is known as the booklight setup and it’s used quite a lot by the filumn guys, (moving images not the luddites). The idea is to get a large pool of very soft light easily and it needs some form of reflector panel and some form of diffusion.

For this session I used two of the panels are hinged together at 45º, I used some Superclamps here, one panel has diffusion added one a reflector. The strobe is fired at the reflector, light bounces (therefore diffuses) before passing through the scrim and diffusing again.

A very tired Karin tried to stop yawning!

A nearby wall (LHS) was creating a bit of fill but for a couple of the shots I leant a third panel against the wall to be used either as a black negative fill or using the reflector for a stronger fill, I was quite surprised how dramatic the negative fill was (black panel).

A couple of shots show the setup, the dark image is a no-flash test. Even though this is daytime in a reasonably bright room the low ISO offered by the Nikon let’s one control the ambient light, it’s always good practice to try a shot with the strobes turned off to ensure the ambient light isn’t exposing the frame.

This test was shot on a Nikon D850 at base ISO of 64 with a single Bowens 400RX with a standard spill reflector. I wanted to use a low power strobe because this is known as a fairly ‘power intensive technique but it seems OK

What we end up with here is a very good approximation for soft window light with a very minimal light setup, though not overly dynamic the light is reasonably malleable and has a ‘look’. There is a Swiss booklight variation which I may test shortly on my Swiss model but the setup certainly shows promise.

Daylight Portrait Photography

Rather than create a new post I’ve appended this with a second 10 minute sunlight test.

With late afternoon sun available it was time to see how the diffusion would calm down the overly strong sun. In truth I’ve got some very large five-in-one panels that would offer similar diffusion, however in a gentle breeze two people are the minimum for holding these in position whereas the frames can be clamped to a stout stand. One of the shots shows what the scene looked like without diffusion, Karin took a step forward into the harsh light.

Two of the shots use a single diffusion panel placed vertically to the left of camera, and with a silver reflector to the right of camera. Finally two have just a single diffuser mounted sideways allowing for a wide pool of light that although shining towards the rear of Karin’s head wraps round to the face.

Really pleased with these, as ever it’s all about the light, and, as I now write this looking out on a dull rain-swept day I know that if it’s not sunny outside the look can be gained inside.