Building a Scene…

If you go down to the woods today… you might find some weirdo with a load of Liizy in the woods - Colin Bristerlighting.. No seriously, welcome to my local woods, I walk my dogs here each morning. It is most probably one of those places we all have, we walk past it every day & hardly ever take in the real beauty of the places local to us. In the first shot you can see a standard setting, stream running through woodland.

When shooting clients I always prefer to use a location that is special to them for whatever reason & then use that as the backdrop, much more fun then shooting in a studio… there’s some beautiful backdrops out there. For me these are a great challenge, I rarely see the place I’m shooting before hand, so Google images is a must. You get other photographers view points and to see what has been made from the location.

Liizy in the woods - Colin BristerSo, here’s my approach, for the first shots (images 2,3,4) I’m using three lights, this will allow me to light my two subjects. Here again its Lizzy with our Old English Sheepdog, Charlie (Teddy Bear).. As its a play.. In Image 2 shows the scene as I start to light it (it’s me positioning final lights), at this point I will be shooting around 1 to 2 stops underexpose. Try a variant, always good to have a selection when you get home..

The camera has been positioned on a short tripod in the middle of the stream, theLizzy in the woods - Colin Brister lighting has been set as diagrams below. Main light on subjects is a Godox RS600 fitted with a 150cm Octobox, behind the tree to the right I’ve added a speedlite set to 1/32 to give a very slight rim light, with one further speedlite 4 meters from camera firing at the subjects to add a little more light to Charlie. Here we have cut out nearly all ambient light, just keeping a little in the far distance.

Lizzy in the woods - Colin BristerImage 4, mission impossible, getting a dog to sit still, remote trigger & dog biscuit. You can get them to look where ever you want… Charlie will do anything for a treat. Except, sleeping in the way, getting on the sofa, chewing my shoes, ah the list is endless, that might be another blog…

So That’s it… But does it have to be, as I said, this was just a bit of a play. But one thing I do with locations is look for interesting features, maybe a landmark, or a wall, tree or a leafed area all that can give great texture or just show what the location was like at that  time.. Now this is one of those areas where Photography divides between work to be judged on photographic merit & commercial. Judged work you wouldn’t want to many focal points, but for a client that wants to remember the location, its important to me to emphasis what makes it special..Lizzy in the woods - Colin Brister

As this was not a special place I thought I just go for opening up the scene a little, In image 5, I’ve added another Godox lamp to the left of camera behind another tree to light the tree towards the back of the scene, with further speedlites lighting the foreground & one across the water behind the bank on the right. Liizy in the woods - Colin Brister

Image 6 is very similar just with a few repositioned lights..

Lighting Diagram…

Lighting Woods

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