Simple Light, High Impact

I shot this image for Meagan Tubb’s Beautiful Noise CD (2008).  She and her band, Shady People were able to put most of the recording together at Willie Nelson’s studio near Austin, TX after winning a band contest.  The prize consisted of studio time which helped with the budget I imagine.  Meagan’s not one for doing things half-ass, and she wanted the art and packaging on the disc to be up to standard with any nationally released CD.

There are about 6 images we did together that makeup the front, tray, insert, and back panel.  Some feature the band, some just Meagan.  Included are location and concept shots.

I told Meagan that I wanted to use a fan to blow her hair around.  I prepared her for it by warning her that it would definitely irritate her eyes, so we’d shoot fast to try to keep the “watery eyes” look to a minimum.

It’s a good idea to talk the subject through the movements and expressions before you turn the fan on.  A fan and long hair means lots of unpredictable hair movement.  And since I don’t machine-gun the shutter, I rely on experience, timing, and a little luck to get the shots I want.  For me, using a fan for a shot like this is usually a nine shot sequence — three shots in each of three “takes” with the fan on.

You know I love simplicity.  So, for this shot, I pulled out a single light in the form of a Photoflex LiteDome Q39, Medium Softbox with an Alien Bee (B800) on the back end.  I Velcro’ed a flag to the side of the softbox nearest the black seamless background to keep it from spilling light over there.  Shot with a Canon EOS 30D, Canon 50mm EF f/1.8 MK II, f/5.6, 1/250.

More on my work with Meagan >>

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Paul Langereis

Hi Ed,

I love your work! You have inspired me (via your flash eBook) to get into some portrait work using speed lights. I could not afford the Canon speed lights, so I bought some manual ones with shoot through umbrellas and one reflector, and I must say that I am having a blast with my portrait work now. Of course I have a way to go, but I am finding your advice invaluable! Simplicity works! Thanks and take care.


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