hilite and arias

Started playing around with my 6x7 Hilite from Lastolite. I have to say that in my very small studio it's shaping up to be an absolute godsend. Especially for the seamless-white-background-high-key-look I've been using for portraits. Given the dimensions - we're talking around 8 x 9 here - I had a hell of a time managing subject to background separation creating unwanted flares, wrap and all sorts of exposure related problems. I've been able to work with the limitations mind you; but it's been giving me more work than it should and well... time is money, right?

The great thing about the Hilite is that it's lit from within, which means you can place your subject insanely close to it and still get perfect control of both exposures. The only downside compared to seamless is that as soon as you start bringing the bg down, there are wrinkles in the Hilite that start to show. So you can't play around with it as much as paper. It's meant for high key and works perfectly for that purpose which means I'll be using this a lot in school and day-care shoots where space is often at a premium.

Another use for the Hilite is as a giant softbox. I mean, you have this huge 6x7 light source right? Just position your subject on another background and use this as the main light: presto! soft light all around! Here's another (sigh) self-portrait I took in my studio. I'm using a single SB-800 for this believe it or not. The light is really pretty cool I think:

Btw, this was inspired by a photographer named Zack Arias. If you don't know him you should. Go visit his blog now and be ready for your photography to get a serious boost. On top of being a great photographer, he happens to be a pretty damn generous guy and a great teacher. I found him while researching for my studio setup - which ended up pretty much entirely based on his white seamless series. He's also been doing reviews of photographer websites and listening to his comments gives great insight into the do's and don'ts of marketing yourself on the web. Now I just need to apply some of it ;-)