New Video on the subject of Fill Lighting!

In a never ending research for the best solution to create a fill light, I think I found the one: The Chinese Ball Lantern.

Fill Lighting can improve your portraits

First let’s explain why fill light is important. Shadows are great - I love them but not always. If you want to improve your retouching, the first thing you should improve is your lighting or…how you lighting makes retouching.

You can easily mess up when creating fill light. On top of having to worry about your lighting ratio and exposure, you also have to mind the direction of light like when using a large umbrella. If you have low ceilings, then fill becomes slightly easier as you only have to bounce light on ceilings but can cause trouble as there can be color cast if the ceilings are typically not perfectly white.

So how do we build a consistent look for fill? Here comes the modifier of the year, the Chinese lantern.

The Chinese Lantern History

The Chinese lantern, as you have recognized from the name, is inspired from the Sky Lanterns from China. These lanterns were used during war for signaling troops. After a short while, the lights became popular with kids and adults. Which made them popular at festivals.

A few hundreds years later, some a smart person decided to stick a Chinese lantern on a light for a photo! That brings us to today where we need to fill light. The Chinese lantern gives the advantage like one my friend says to “light without looking lit”. 

Used as a single source modifier, it creates a naturalistic light that simulates what we see indoors. Used in combination with other modifiers, the Chinese lantern creates a gentle directionless fill light.

Let’s put it to the test in this video.

These shots were lit with a Strobepro deep 63” umbrella diffused plus the Chinese Lantern! As usual, the umbrella was highly feathered to be able to light evenly both subjects. This also served the purpose to avoid having the subject closest to the light not being overly exposed.

A few notes on the modifier. It’s quite small! Not in it’s ball form, the modifier measures 24 inches or 60.94 centimeters.

In order to set it, you need to press down on the modifier and lock the ball in place with the inner clip. When locked in simply lock it to your strobe using the light mount.

While using a fill, it’s important to measure your light using a light meter in order to avoid over exposing an image. I never have a set ratio main to fill in mind but I typically start with the lowest power and build until I get a desired look.

Overall impressions of the Chinese Lantern

1 - Great to create a fill light or naturalistic scene lighting

2- Also great to light a couple of subject without too much “directionality”.

3 - The build quality is decent (for the model I used), I wouldn’t carry this on a rough shoot but the locking system is nice and needs a little strength (barely) to setup.

Although, the unit velcro for this model has a hard time closing all the way through which can either be attributed to user error or the measurements of the cover fabric. (most likely me) 

4 - But overall, I am quite happy to have this in my bag and look forward to use it on location or outdoors!

That wraps it for this video - I hope learning about another way of ‘filling’ light was useful to you. If you feel like you need to pick up one of those lantern, here are the links purchase the Chinese Lantern. (your purchase helps this channel while you help your lighting!)



Thanks for reading and happy shooting! 

TESTIMONIALS: What is the ROI of a headshot?

What is the return on investment of a headshot?

It is one of the questions I ask myself the most as a freelance photographer. How can I make sure my clients get a return on what they paid for? This is crucial for head shots as the stakes is your carrer. The story below highlights what can be obtained. Results may vary.

A freelance photographer, dealing with the Corona Virus Era

The news of the Corona Virus took the world by surprise. What started first as a bunch of memes about a distant disease (and a few beer ones) became very real when most of our governments decided to take preventive measures to stop the spread of the virus. I am all for prevention, especially when it is to avoid the unnecessary pain afflicted of our senior citizens and immuno-compromised fellows. 

But on the flip side, I am self-employed. Being a business owner in this day and age is stressful (even before the virus). On top of our families, we wear many hats: marketer, accountant, salesperson, manager and many more. The addition of the Corona virus into that mix basically halts most businesses - and it’s hurtful. I am not 100% certain if any my bookings will be confirmed or cancelled (most likely the latter). 

But I recently received a message that gave me hope. 

A Bit of a Backstory

I shot these images of her back in October when she was just started to take theater lessons. From my conversation with Catherine, acting was fairly new and while she wasn’t sure if it would yield, but she knew that a head shot could get her bookings. So, she booked me and we created the beautiful image below. Catherine received tons of compliments for the photos we took, from friends and family (she is indeed ultra photogenic - I only helped a little :p).  While this is always gratifying, being hired is much more important (sorry mom and dad). 

The Message

While I was traveling for a photo conference in early March 2020 (when Corona became a very real issue), I received the following message.

The best part of this story is now she is getting acting gigs - and the head shot I created for her helped. If this isn’t what the goal of photography is, I do no know what it is. Sell more, get hired, get promoted, have an impact. I am now convinced I have to stay the course, even when the next few months are going to be difficult. I go back to testimonials like these to keep my head out of the water.

So, I hope the next few months aren’t too hard on you and your family - while we will ALL be practicing social distancing, I will be planning to have more and more stories like Catherine’s in my portfolio. (If you’d like to book Catherine for your television or movie casting, you can find her here!)

Remember, to book YvensB for your headshot, simply send me an email or through my website!  We’ll resume sessions as soon as the social distancing protocols are lifted.

Hope these challenging times will be easy for you and your loved ones.