Here's five lighting setups from simple to complex.
Photo By Cheyenne Ellis
On a beach in Oahu, HI, Ellis captured a sandy Halle Berry with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II and 24– 70mm f/2.8 Canon lens.
Nature's Lighting Starter Kit: The Sun
Photography's most basic lighting option, the sun, is also one of the most versatile. It can be bright and hard or dim and soft. It can be warm and highly directional, casting long shadows. Or, behind clouds, its light can be blue, diffuse, and shadow-free. As it crosses the sky, the sun serves as a front-, side-, back-, and/or hair-light. It always looks natural (because it is), and it’s always free. Cheyenne Ellis, an L.A.-based celebrity portraitist and advertising pro, used only the sun and a reflector to light this shot of Halle Berry made to promote Berry's fragrance, Halle. Images from the shoot have appeared in US Weekly, Harper’s Bazaar, and Shape magazines. You would think for such a high-profile project, Ellis would show up with more than a camera and a shiny $47 disk.
But, sunlight and a reflector are among her favorite lighting combinations. Her website, www.cheyenneellis.com, overflows with natural light. “I like the simplicity and flexibility of the reflector, and the shaping it brings out,” she says. “I rarely use a reflector aimed directly at a subject, though—too harsh. Instead, I feather it, making sure the reflection in the eyes is beautiful. It helped that the sand here acted as a giant fill card!”
Cheyenne Ellis devised a clever way to deploy her 20-inch Flexfill Silver/White reflector ($47, street), without an assistant. Seated, she held it in her lap and aimed it with her forearms while shooting!