Getting Lit: MISTI-Con

I’ve written before that in future posts, I would be a bit more technical.  For the first post I thought I would use the photos from MISTI-Con, since the gelled lights make the direction of lights way more obvious.

The room I was shooting in was a small hotel ballroom, with LARGE windows facing the lake, which mean a good amount of the rooms lighting came from outside during the day.   Each photo was taken between f4 and f5.6, and between 100ISO and 250ISO, depending upon how many lights were used and the time of day.

Before I tell you what exactly I did, I should go over the products used first:

In this first example, I had three lights.

  • First Light (Yongnuo Speedlight): Gelled green and on the ground and pointing at the seamless black background.
  • Second Light (Yongnuo Speedlight): Gelled blue on a light stand, behind the models and pointing diagonally forward, which is also known as a Rim Light.
  • Third Light (Monolight): No gels, but has an umbrella to soften and spread the light.

Now, why use these colors? In the series Harry Potter, each Hogwarts house has it’s own color. Red for Gryffindor, Yellow for Hufflepuff, Blue for Ravenclaw, and Green for Slytherin. These colors can also be used for certain attributes, which I will get into in a moment.

For this image, I used green as the predominant color due to the fact that Sirius Black (left) comes from a family who has always been in Slytherin while the book character had gone into Gryffindor instead, and Lord Voldemort (right) canonically comes from the Slytherin house. In this pair’s cosplay, Sirius Black had gone to Slytherin just like his family.

While I could have used a deeper green to be the rim light of the image, I felt that using a blue would create a more somber photo while remaining colorful

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In the second example, I had turned off the green light and moved the Flashpoint to the side more.

  • Second Light (Yongnuo Speedlight): Gelled blue on a light stand, behind the models and pointing diagonally forward, which is also known as a Rim Light.
  • Second Light (Monolight): No gels, and the umbrella was removed to create an outline for the models.

In this image, the green light had actually failed, so I removed it outright and adjusted the Monolight to give the two figures a blue-white outline.

Now, why blue instead of simply swapping out the gel for the green? Much of Lord Voldemort’s dealings are under the cover of night. Rarely anything happens by the light of day. The placement of lights also works for the characters and their motivations: Voldemort has always been a dark character, who hid their plans from those of the good (light side), reflected by the face being lit by blue and their back towards the white light.

In the books, Sirius Black was wrongfully accused of several murders and the betrayal of his friends, which lead to their deaths. It’s not until the third book in the series where he is redeemed by Harry to his friends and starts to fight for good again (which could be shown here with his back to the blue light and his face in the white light).

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For the final photo, I once again had three lights.

  • First Light (Yongnuo Speedlight): Gelled blue and to the right of the model, angled to hit both her and the background.  The light was moved off of the backdrop to soften the amount of blue in the image.
  • Second Light (Yongnuo Speedlight): Gelled pink on a light stand, to the left of the model and aimed to hit the model and background.  This light was closer to have a more extreme coloring on the model.
  • Third Light (Monolight): No gels, an umbrella to soften and spread the light, to the left of the camera.

For this image, I chose pink and blue for the model based on her clothing rather than the color of her house. Had I wanted to emphasize her house (Ravenclaw), the image would have had the blue light closer and the pink light further. I actually believe that this is something that I had tried, but ultimately the bright pink made this a better image, since Trelawney was such an off the wall and dramatic character (even considering that this was for a Harry Potter event!)

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I have another shoot coming up, so stick around for more technical and behind the scenes posts!

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