Low ceiling Top down challenge

Started 7 months ago | Discussions thread
Ed Shapiro
Ed Shapiro Regular Member • Posts: 362
Re: Low ceiling Top down challenge

Currantos wrote:


I really would like to accomplish that "top down" look, similar to a lot of beauty/butterfly and even fitness light that sculpts down the sides of the face/body but have low ceiling challenges.

Anyone has any recommendations? Are there flat lights? The light plus softbox take up a significant space. In an 8 ft apartment studio to have a top light 4ft softbox the model has to be pretty much seated on a low stool, so full body not possible.

Anyone has any tips or tricks or anything? Trying to learn here. Thank you

You do not mention how low your ceiling is and if is a solid or dropped type of structure. where a light source can be recessed above the ceiling tiles.

Here is the main issue. If the ceiling is very low you may not have sufficient vertical rise to accommodate any kind of proper facial lighting so the first thing to do before investing in any equipment is a little test experiment: Take any directional unmodified light source like a simple reflector/flood or whatever you can find and find out if you have enough height to get the facial light form you are looking for. A direct light source is more telling. If you do not have enough clearance there's any panel, soft-box or any defused system that will work because it going to be larger than a single lamp. I don't think that one foot or less is going to make a difference if the is insufficient space. Uou will need more latitude or wiggle room to accommodate folks of different heights and different facial strictures- a totally fixed light will not work well.

The good news is if there is enough workable space you may be able to get a very low profile modifier from plumltd.com - they have a line of Wafer modifiers that are extremely low profile. The photographer/inventor is Gary Register- Google him and his company.

I know from experience that shooting portraits in confined spaces can be difficult not only with low ceilings but also with insufficient space around the subject to place main and kicker lights, reflectors and allowing for enough distance for the background. When working on location and shooting weddings I have had to use existing mirrors to redirect light in small apartments and dressing rooms- it ain't lots of good fun but it can be improvised. If you are setting up a more or less permanent shooting area, you might want to consider another part of your home. If you have to seat people very low to the floor, you may end up with awkward or uncomfortable poses.

I hope this helps- good luck!

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Ed Shapiro- Commercial and Portrait Photographer. Ottawa, Ontario Canada

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