By Ralph Clevenger
I’ve been working with a very talented group of Brooks Institute photography students over the past semester. They are taking 2-3 different photography courses and production shoots like this one allows them to create a diversity of images to meet assignment requirements in multiple courses.
One of the shoots we wanted to do was a backyard BBQ/jacuzzi lifestyle theme. This would allow us to show off the Stella lights ability to light underwater in the jacuzzi as well as close-ups of food and overall scenes of the whole backyard.
In preproduction meetings we went over props, clothes, food, models, lights, and the time of the shoot. We wanted both an evening ambient look and a night look so we could see the fire pit, the BBQ, and the jacuzzi in different lighting environments. The light got dark enough at about 7:45pm and we finished shooting the jacuzzi scene at about 9:00pm.
We lit this scene (see above) with a Stella Pro 5000 with warming gel, a Stella Pro 2000 with barn doors and a gel, and a Stella 1000 with a small diffusion modifier. You can see the light stand for the Stella 5000 in this angle.
The corn salsa dip scene below was lit with a Stella Pro 5000 on camera right and a reflector on camera left for some fill light.
The fruit plate shot has a Stella 2000 in a softbox on camera right. It’s amazing what just one light can do for a scene like this. We shot this earlier in the evening so there was enough ambient light to balance with the Stella light.
Later in the evening the ambient light was darker so you can really see the effect of the Stella lights in this shot. We lit it with a Stella 5000 in a softbox on camera left and backlit the scene with the 2000 with a 50-degree modifier plus a warming gel. You can see the flare from this light in the upper right.
Here’s me holding the Stella 5000 with that really nice 50-degree silicone modifier.
As night fell we worked on the Jacuzzi image. This is a composite of 2 separate exposures, one for the candle lit scene and a second exposure for the same scene lit with the Stellas.
We used four Stella LED lights for this scene. A Stella 5000 with barn doors and a 50-degree modifier at camera left pointed towards the Jacuzzi. We put a Stella 2000 with barn doors and a gel behind the wall next to the towel to put light on right side of the Jacuzzi. A Stella 1000 behind the plants in back of the Jacuzzi and our last light, another Stella 1000, was put in the Jacuzzi to light up the water and models.
When working with continuous lights like the Stella’s we have to be really conscious of the level of ambient light. The key is to use the dropping ambient light to create the mood you want and use the Stella’s to add color, depth, shape, and focus to the subjects. A real creative bonus was being able to throw a Stella into the jacuzzi. We bounced the light against the white wall and it gave a soft, wrap around light to the water and the models faces. I love these lights!
Overall I was really pleased with the students images, lots of diversity and some beautiful use of lighting to create a real feel of a summer evening get together.
2 - Stella Pro 5000s
1 - Stella Pro 2000
2- Stella 1000s
The Stella barn doors were especially useful to control the spill of light and we added a ¼ sun warming gel to some of the lights to make the scene match the BBQ, fire pit feeling. We added a small soft box to give larger highlights on the food, a snap-on diffusion and the 50-degree silicone modifier were also used for light control.
Students shot with Canon, Nikon, and Sony cameras.
The group shot by Daniel Brittain shows off our whole scene, all the participants, and all five lights (a Stella 5000 with a soft box is at camera right, out of frame, lighting everyone).
Above: The crew for the backyard BBQ-jacuzzi lifestyle shoot. Lit with 5 Light & Motion LED Stella lights.
Photography by Brooks Institute students Ella DeGea, Daniel Brittain, and Liz Grady. Styling and food services by Mary Jane Headlee. Produced by Brooks faculty member Ralph A. Clevenger.