Once again on Sunday I looked around the house trying to draw inspiration from some of the interesting decorations we have collected over the years. We seem to have a lot of Egyptian stuff and so I imagined a scene like this.
A little bit of Indiana Jones & The Temple of Doom! I want to make it look like Artsy is in a giant hall with huge Egyptian statues in the background with Artsy inspecting a precious relic in the foreground.
I spent a lot of time trying to make rays of light in Photoshop last week and was not satisfied with the results. So this time I decided to reserve an evening for some technical tests to see if I can create the light rays on-set with my strobes.
Here are some test shots I made as I tried various combinations of zooming the flash, using snoots, grids
It seemed I was able to get a decent beam of light but was not getting the light rays that I wanted. Light rays are made when there is a healthy mix of shadows in the light beam. So I needed something to actually block some of the light. In the film industry, a common slang term for things that block bits of light is a cookie. So I cut out a cookie from some white poster board that would fit snugly on the end of my snoot.
Now we’re getting somewhere!
Now I can rotate the cookie to get different patterns of light beams.
Now that I’m confident in my ability to capture real light beams. I set out to capture the 3 elements of the shot.
I had 3 small book-shelf decorations to work with (thanks to some lucky shopping at Ross).
I wanted them to appear to be lit by light streaming in from the top of the frame, so I lit them all the same, with top-down hard light through a grid.
Now for some yellow light-rays using my new cookie.
Finally, the talent. Artsy was pretty easy to pose here, I just had to hold a treat slightly off camera to direct her gaze. I also threw some random bricks in that were left-over from construction to try to make it look like maybe she was at an altar of sorts…
To begin with, I tried to establish the fake perspective in the shot to help me position the statues. As it turns out, I needed a bit of education on 1-point perspective (see youtube videos below). Because I got it wrong twice.
I moved on and got my light beams roughly positioned, reduced the brightness of the background objects and then realized my perspective was all wrong. So I re-did the perspective
3rd time is a charm.
Some minor dodging, burning
Planning 1 hour
Photography 1.5 hours
Lightroom 20 mins
Photoshop 4 hours
- I can make satisfactory light rays by filling the air with junk (fog, dust) and throwing a cookie on the end of my snoot.
- It’s really hard to tie a scene together without a ground plane, it would have been nice if I could have thought through how better to
setupthe backdrop so that it included a ground plane.
- I should have used my protractor to position the statues at exact angles when photographing them so that the lines would be parallel and lend to a better illusion of perspective.