Location Portraits with Lulu Cole and Elinchrom ELB500 TTL

I love lighting away from the studio on location & the challenges presented, especially here in Sussex, on the south coast of England. We benefit from a variety of backdrops, although not as exotic as in other lands!

The TTL exposure from the Elinchrom ELB500 TTL provides constant exposure & colour balance, even when working with low afternoon sun providing the accent light.
I've worked with other TTL flash systems and they struggle with a similar scenario.

As the South Coast is close to home, it provides a backdrop for many shoots. For this shoot with Lulu Cole it's a perfect backdrop with a variety of scenarios close to home for both of us.

This shoot began with the idea of creating black & white images to use for Lulu's new website & Book. Although I set the preview on my camera to black & white, we wondered how the images would look in colour. I didn't shoot tethered to a laptop computer as we needed to remain mobile. The location was the busy seafront between Brighton & Newhaven.

A selection of frames converted to black & white.

I've worked with Lulu for a number of years now and there will be more images as we work together developing new ideas. Since first working with Lulu almost 5 years ago her career has developed and in 2018 she won a national newspaper modelling competition.

Canon full frame DSLR, Av ƒ/3.2, 1/3200th sec Exposure Compensation -1.33 - flash TTL Exposure Compensation -1.33

Choice of gear was important for this shoot as I knew that I wanted to use a relatively wide aperture ƒ/stop which even at a low ISO would mean short shutter speeds, in this case around 1/3200th second to 1/8000th second with an lens aperture of ƒ/3.2 ISO160.

CamKarts provide the idea solution for photographers on the move where conventional rolling cases fear to roll!

For much of my location lighting work my lighting and camera gear is stowed in a LowePro Magnum 400AW which fits perfectly inside of my CamKarts Custom rolling camera case.

The Elinchrom ELB500 TTL head & lead fit inside the 7inch/18cm reflector
I'm now using the Elinchrom ELB500 TTL portable battery flash which is a out of the box solution for photographers who need compact & versatile kit. I want to know my flashes are going to constantly perform on location & in the studio and fit my existing modifiers/shapers. Elinchrom battery flash does just this.

Canon full frame DSLR, image under exposed.
Av ƒ/3.2, 1/3200th sec Exposure Compensation -1.33 - No flash

Add flash.
Canon full frame DSLR, Av ƒ/3.2, 1/3200th sec
Exposure Compensation -1.33 - flash TTL Exposure Compensation -1.33

I always shoot a couple of frames with a MacBeth or DataColor Spyder Checkr as a starting point for colour correction in post-production.

Returned through 180º so the sun was directly shining on Lulu. The Av Exposure Compensation was still set to -1.66 so the TTL flash provided a pleasing effect.

Sometimes it's fun to use props to add a another dimension to images, tell a story or create mood. By this time the sun had dropped lower in the sky and provided a perfect warm hair light.

A little about the light modifier used: 

A standard solid beauty dish is cumbersome to carry when working on location. My substitute for the 44cm white beauty dish is the Elinchrom Portalite 56cm Octa. This modifier packs down small, about the same size as a paperback book. It has a stippled soft silver lining and in common with all Elinchrom soft boxes will accept deflectors which prevent direct light reaching the subject. Like a beauty dish it also has a external white diffuser. The lighting pattern from the 56cm Octa is almost identical to a solid beauty dish of similar size and packs down to a fraction of the size.

The Elinchrom 56cm Portalite Octa is truly a multi-functional modifier - silver lining & white lining (not OEM but something I've custom made), silver, gold, white & translucent deflectors, front diffusion. It even makes a efficient open face reflector without the deflector or diffusion in place.

I'll be covering the Elinchrom 56 cm Portalite Octa in a future blog.

That's it for now and don't forget if you really enjoy lighting to visit and join The LIGHT Side - a place to learn, be mentored, nurtured and learn about lighting, lighting and photography, whatever your level or experience.

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