I recently shot an on-location, full-day commercial shoot for a beauty products’ lifestyle and wellness blog. The goal of the shoot was to showcase a family in its natural environment, including the time they spent together cooking in the kitchen. We wanted to showcase the interior scenes as feeling warm and homey (which is not the same as dark and orangey!) and to show a more fluid representation of a family moving around the hub of their home. Because the interior we were shooting in had abundant natural light, we scheduled the family-in-the-kitchen shoot at a time when the most light would be filtering into the large space.
I used three sources of light and one fill: 1. front light, a generous amount of filtered daylight coming in through large windows, 2. overhead light, tungsten lighting that was relatively evenly spread across the ceiling, 3. additional and fill light, the bounce of light from my on-camera flash, as well as the pop of light off the front of the Metz and 4. a large reflector.
With this configuration, we had two light sources that were at daylight temperatures – the natural light and the only slightly warmer on-camera flash bounce. And we had one set of lights that were at tungsten temperature, which is a couple thousand degrees warmer. The human eye manages color balance issues seamlessly – it takes a bit more thought to make sure you have everything balanced in-camera. I asked my assistant to use a reflector to help fill in a bit more light, bouncing the windowlight a bit father back into the kitchen – and I set my camera to auto white balance which, happily, worked great for this particular setup and the look we were hoping to achieve.
As the family moved around their kitchen, I adjusted my settings. When they were closer to the front light, I did not use the on-camera flash, and we redirected the bounce of the reflector. When they moved farther away from the front light, I boosted my ISO and either utilized fill flash to manage any under-eye shadowing caused by the overhead lighting or redirected the reflector and turned off the flash. By keeping the lighting, fill, and exposure settings within constant range of each other as we adjusted for movement, I was able to keep a consistent look and feel to the images while avoiding a too-posed or too-static look.
By the time we finished, we had a strong set of imagery, the kids were still giggling and the smell of freshly baked bread filled the kitchen. (And I, of course, was suddenly well beyond hungry.)