Thursday, June 24, 2010


I surfed over to David Hobby's Strobist blog this morning mostly because I haven't done so in months and I was curious what's been going on over there.

The first article that grabbed my attention, enough to click the "More>>" button and read it, was one from last week. It featured a YouTube video of Annie Leibovitz shooting the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards for Louis Vuitton.

David's blog post seemed mostly a tribute to the skills of AnnieL (which certainly are considerable) as well as an opportunity to subtly extol the virtues of Photek's Softlighter: A sort-of hybrid between a shoot-thru umbrella and an octagonal soft box. What grabbed my attention most was the way the Softlighter was being employed.

In the vid, the Softlighter was attached to the end of a boom pole while an assistant hand-held it in various positions as Ms. L snapped away.

I've tried this technique before: Not with a Softlighter but with a small softbox. In the video, Annie is using the hand-held Softlighter as her key light. When I played around with this idea, I used the hand-held soft box as an accent or highlight light.

I wish I could remember who I was shooting when I did that. It was 3 or 4 years ago. I do remember my friend, Rick, of Simi Studio, performed the light-holding. I also remember that some of the photos came out quite cool as Rick moved around, providing edge and rim lighting from some unusual, less-seen, angles.

If you're out shooting with a friend sometime, you might try using this strobe-on-a-stick technique. Try using the hand-held light for either a main light or an accent light. It's fun and can produce some very interesting images, especially if, while the friend is moving around with the light, the model is also moving around, perhaps provocatively and seductively dancing in somewhat slow-motion? (Still gotta be able to focus, ya know?)

Here's the video of AnnieL shooting Keith Richards. The gratuitous, half-naked (getting naked-er) pretty girl at the top is Kayla from about 4 years ago.

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