Lighting in a cramped space

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bvy

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I've started doing some event work with my 8x10 camera, and I've been asked to set up at a fundraiser soon. These will be smartly dressed people looking for a unique portrait. The challenge (I refuse to think of it as a limitation) is that I won't have much space to work with. I'm looking for examples or aesthetic ideas where the subject is more or less against a white wall. I'm thinking maybe harder light with a well defined shadow. Thoughts?
 
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Get a four foot octa-light. Beautiful light every time, no need for a fill card. If you go with "well defined shadows" you go with deep reveal on all of your subjects' facial imperfections.

By the way, if this is a fundraiser, shooting 8x10 seems expensive. 90% of people don't give a poop if you are shooting with a fancy large format, they only care about looking good in the portrait.
 

jim10219

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You might consider some barn doors on your flash to control the light. Also, it might be smart to get some black fabric to cover the walls to absorb some of the reflections. You don’t have to cover every square inch. Just enough to control the reflected light to how you like.

And I say use the 8x10. They can get a portrait with a regular camera anywhere. Most people these days will never have their picture taken with an 8x10. They may not appreciate the results any more, but they’ll likely appreciate the experience. Plus it’s a fundraiser! These things are always full of gimmicks! Use X-ray film if you’re concerned about cost.
 
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The 4 foot light is a good idea. It sounds like you will be in a small space, is that right? If so there will be bounce/spill/reflected light. It would be a losing battle to try to fight it, so I would use it. Bring as much light as you can and go for a higher key rendering. If the key light is on camera axis and at the (low?) ceiling, there will be very little shadows. This is a different asedthetic than you may be imagining. Bring reflectors or up to 3 lights (key, fill, background) if possible.
 

MattKing

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Depth of field will probably be challenging, so factor in something like a posing lectern to help subjects stay still. The forward lean that results can help if you have difficulty getting your main light source large and high enough.
 
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