02 February, 2011

Observations: Guerilla Lighting - Fast & Furious with Louis Pang

Let’s face it. It’s tough being the opening act for Joe McNally’s Let There Be Light Seminar. Louis doesn’t hide from the fact, instead he embraces it. The show must go on and as we soon learn, it’s never the size of the act but that of the heart which matters. Louis was most kind to extend a seminar invite to Clubsnap and I was the fortunate observer. Having won eight Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) awards, Louis is a celebrated speaker who willingly shared his experience. For more information on Louis, please visit his info-packed website.

Louis confessed that he avoided flash usage in the past. He was unsure of its proper usage and chose to do without. He soon realized that ignorance is not a valid excuse. Furthermore the choice is simple: to capture great moments without great lighting or to do so with great lighting. He chose the latter and the rest was history.

On Posing
Louis believes that the distinction between posing both sexes is simple: we seek to accentuate the curves of ladies and the ruggedness of men. He pours through magazines, researching and using his iPhone to reference images. These images serve as a best-of gallery and a ready database whenever needed. Louis advocates practicing these poses in front of the mirror so that they become second nature. But images are at best, static. To replicate them, the subjects, who are often than not, non-professionals, have to relax. In Louis’ own words, ‘If they feel good, they look good.’

On Grooms
Louis shares that most men do not like their photos taken. Man, in general, want to maintain a sense of control and hence, are reluctant to yield to a photographer. The easiest way to relax the client is to pose him with his hands in his pockets and/or lean against something, be it a chair or the wall. Sitting the client down and asking him to lean forward is another good relaxation technique. If the client is particularly resistant, be prepared to lead by example and demonstrate each pose personally.

On Brides
Brides are trickier. No bride, however lean, will deny that they have big arms or heavy shoulders. The photographer should avoid having her shoulder pointed towards the camera. If required, utilize a shawl to cover up or crop half the arm away. To conjure a slimming effect, photographers could pose heavier bottom brides with one leg over the other.

Regardless of bride or groom or family members, the photographer must work fast to avoid boredom from setting in. Now that the posing formalities are dispensed with, Louis launched into his pet subject, guerilla lighting.

On Guerilla Lighting
What is Guerilla Lighting? For Louis, three words.

• Fast
• Effective &
• Mobile

On Lighting Arsenal
Louis’ mobile lighting arsenal includes

• SB800s & 900s
• Battery packs
• Justin clamps
• TriFlash
• Ezybox Hotshoe kits
• Trigrip Reflex
• Honl Snoot
• Gels
• Monopod and
• Gaffer Tapes

On Environment
Once operational Louis takes a photo of the room, without flash, to assess:

• What is the available light?
• Whether to remove or blend in the ambient (available) lighting?
• Is it good (desirable) enough?

Louis clarifies that there is no such thing as good and bad light just misunderstood light. He prefers to think in matrix metering to simplify all decision making. The photographer needs to understand the elements available and their possible lighting effects. Thus curtains can be deployed as a large light diffuser and the simple act of drawing curtains can focus the light to the desired area.

On Physics
There are some natural laws that the photographer should observe.

• Light has to be logical. Photographs should have one consistent shadow look since there is but one sun. Multiple especially intersecting shadows can be distracting and unnatural.
• Light loses its power in proportion to the distance traveled.

On Human Connection
Louis shares a simple fact, ‘People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.’ He firmly believes that the development of strong human relationships lies at the very core of his success. He advocates taking care of people so that they can relax, allowing the photographer to focus on the vital. The capturing of emotions.

On Being the Best
Two hours passed quickly, Louis concluded his segment with a powerful quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Be a bush if you can't be a tree.
If you can't be a highway, just be a trail.
If you can't be a sun, be a star.
For it isn't by size that you win or fail.
Be the best of whatever you are.

What secrets will be revealed when Joe takes the stage? Stay tuned for the next installment.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

amazing writeup...

waiting for the next installment.. :)