Light summer shooting with Elle Lenz


A couple of days ago I did a shooting with Elle Lenz close to Atlantic station. The location was a bit overcrowded with a lot of other photographers. I suppose the extremely nice weather basically asked for it. The shooting was again a bit more on the casual side however this time I used two Alien Bees – it was simply too bright for available light and I could not have managed to balance the light otherwise.

Finally we are getting into a regime where shooting is fun again. While the last shootings were available light only, today I had to use strobes. Due to timing constraints we shot around 2pm, i.e., the sun was high and strong. Without strobes it would have been virtually impossible to get enough light into the face to get an overall pleasing look without harsh contrasts. The difference in lighting was probably somewhere between 3 and 4 stops. I was actually surprised to see several other photographers shooting bare in the harsh light, i.e., without reflector, diffuser, or lights. Whenever possible, I recommend to shoot either in the morning or the late afternoon, so that the sun is not so strong. Also, in particular in the golden hour, you get amazing light for free. Shoot into the sun while metering your model’s face and you can get an amazing, dreamy look. Add one light (e.g., a speedlite) for definition and you are golden.

The setup. Summer style shooting with lots of light and slight vintage look. Elle wanted to have something more natural, outdoors. So I thought the ‘girl from next door’ would be great. We probably shoot for around 2 hours – enough time for me to get a minor sun burn. Apart from the light, one of the other major challenges was the wide shirt: one wind blow and your model just gained 50 pounds. We had to constantly readjust the shirt. Also, to my surprise, I had some minor Moiré coming from the shirt. I am used to this from my M9P as it has no low pass filter on the sensor, but I was surprised to see this with the OM-D. I guess their LP filter is on the weaker side, which is good as you get (much) more detail but occasionally results in Moiré.

The location. Area close to Atlantic station. We shot at three or four different locations moving with the sun and against the crowd.


Camera: Olympus OM-D
Exposure: f/2.8 – 5.6, 1/100 – 1/500, ISO 200
Lens: Olympus 75mm f/1.8
Lights: 2 Alien Bees B800 with shoot-through umbrella and one bare

Lighting. I used between one or two Alien Bees depending where we shot. Some of the shots were taken in open shade. In this case one bee as a kicker was enough. The challenging part in this case was more the mix of light of different color temperaturse: the bees being daylight calibrated at 5000-5500K (depending on output level) vs. open shade light which clocks in somewhere in mid to low 4000K. Moreover shooting with the bees limited me to sync at 1/250s so that I had to shoot at some aggressive f/10-f/11 – at best a hair short of diffraction. The setup itself in the two light case was a standard two light setup – I spare you the diagram. Since we wanted to go casual, natural, and lifestyle I did not use a separate rim light (which might have looked a bit artificial).

The shots.





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7 thoughts on “Light summer shooting with Elle Lenz

  1. Pingback: Interlude: Vintage shooting with Desiree Bailey | Terence S Jones - a guy with a camera

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