Creative Portraits using MagMod in Alpharetta, GA with ACT1 Theater
There's always a huge relief I experience when a piece of expensive equipment turns out to be a great investment. Enter Magmod.
I've been using their gels and grids for a few months now and love their products. However, I recently purchased their MagSphere, MagBounce, and MagBeam products and got to use all three on a recent session for ACT1 Theater's production of Steel Magnolias. The results were fantastic as I had so much more creativity at my fingertips as well as the ability to control said creativity.
For the headshots, I recently saw a post on SLR Lounge about headshots with a single, overhead light. I decided to replicate that look with my 46" Photek Softlighter umbrella, with the added twist of using the MagSphere with a grid behind the subject to help separate them from the black background. I love the results. The Softlighter is just above the top of the frame, which means it is creating gorgeous, soft light (remember, a large light source close to your subject equals gentle light to shadow transition zones). The MagSphere is designed to throw light in all directions, with the majority going through the top. I added the grid to tighten the spread of light as I pointed it directly at the backdrop. In a few instances, I had to pull out a reflector to bounce the light from the Softlighter back up into the subject's face, thus reducing the shadows under their eyes.
The standard publicity photos were a blast because I got to pull out the MagBeam and it's gobos to create interesting background patterns. I also layered it with a gel to help create the mood in some instances. The trick with the MagBeam was watching out for any light leakage. If my subjects were too close to the gelled MagBeam, they'd get washed with some of the color being used. When your background is teal and the subject is a person, it doesn't turn out to pleasantly. I ended up using cardboard as a makeshift flag to block the light spill in some cases. The rest of the light was a mix of the MagGrids and MagBounces. I preferred the grids because I could keep that flash from interfering with the background pattern. Again, it was tricky because now shadows were a big issue. Adjusting the flash positions to light my subjects while keeping certain shadows, created by them and the other flashes, out of the frame was a struggle.
I loved the process though and it was a nice adventure compared to some of my other lighting setups. I always enjoy pushing myself to learn new things because that means the next time a client asks for a specific look, I'll know how to create it easily.
Also - if you're in the metro Atlanta area and love theater, definitely check out this production of Steel Magnolias. The cast is incredibly talented and I've had a blast building a truly unique set. The show runs March 3rd through the 19th and you can get ticket information HERE
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