Creating shadows with D.I.Y. Gobos: Take & Make Great Photography with Gavin Hoey

December 12, 2019 0 By Peter Engel


In this video I have a look at how you can use everyday items as Gobos in a small studio. AdoramaTV presents ‘Take and Make
Great Photography’ with Gavin Hoey. Hello I’m Gavin Hoey and you are watching AdoramaTV, brought to you by Adorama, the camera store that has everything for us photographers. In this video I’m looking at Gobos. Now, what’s a Gobo? It’s something that goes between the light source and the
model or the light source and the background. Basically a Gobo adds interesting shadows to your shot. Now there are some brilliant devices for casting perfect
shadows. I’m not going to be using those in this video. No, in this video I’m going to use DIY homebrew equipment to create my shadows so let’s get everything set up and get shooting. So once again I’m joined by Beth in the studio and once again Beth is against a
gray background. Now the idea here is we’re going to take the gray and make it
more interesting with Gobos but to begin with, we’ll just take a standard shot to
see what we get, a starting point. So I’ve got a StreakLight in a Softbox. That’s it,
simple lighting, let’s meter the light. Pop this underneath Beth’s chin and I’m getting F5.6, so I’ve got that dialed into the camera. Let’s
just take a few shots like that. So, as you can see we’ve got lovely, simple lighting, gray background. It all works just fine but the idea here is to get more interesting
lighting using Gobos so I’ve got a second flash and I’m going to bring that around to the side of Beth. Now my first Gobo is going to be this, and you might be
wondering what this is. Well it’s a thing you put cutlery in. It’s just a cheap, metal thing with holes in and it’s the holes that are going to allow us to get the
light to pass through and get more interesting shots. Now I was hoping, being metal, it will stick onto the MagMods but I’m afraid it’s the wrong type of metal, so I’m going to need an assistant to help me. Come on in Sam. Sam is going to hold that against the front of the Speedlite. And we’re going to take a few shots like that. Now I’m going to start
with the Speedlite turned down to 1/8th of it’s full power and we’ll just take a
shot like that, see what we get. OK, so Beth, keep turning towards the light for me, Beth. So if you turn your whole body towards the light, that’s terrific. As you can see we get a little splash of light back there, which is really nice but of course, I can change the effect in a couple of different ways. I can increase the power and I can also change it by asking Sam to rotate the Gobo as we take shots. So
each time she turns it a little bit the position of the holes will be slightly
different and the background effect will be different as well. So, as you can see we get a whole variety of different effects simply by adding a small, metal kitchen utensil in front of a standard SpeedLite and it really does elevate that background into something a little bit more dramatic than a simple gray, paper background. So, for the second set up, we’ve swapped from a Softbox to a single SpeedLite because it’s all about size of light for the effect I want. Now I’ve got some black lace here. And it’s got a really nice pattern on it and I want to project that pattern and I want to project that onto Beth. Now, because I’m using a SpeedLite, this is a relatively small size of light. The smaller you make your light, the harder it is and when it comes to shadows, hard light gives you more defined shadows. So, if I get my SpeedLite and pop it way over here…the further away you put your Speedlite,
then of course the smaller it becomes relative to the subject. So, we’re using the
basics of light to create interesting shadows and we’re using the black lace to actually give us the form and shape. Now it’s important that this actually points
at Beth like that, that’s great and I need to meter. So, let me get my meter and we’ll just pop this underneath Beth’s chin, pointing back at the flash. You always need to meet it from the
flash… like that. If you meet it towards the camera of course you’d get the wrong exposure. If you want to find out more on how to use a flash meter, remember to check out my previous video here on AdoramaTV. OK, that’s given me f/3.2. I would like a little bit more light than that so if I increase it by about a stop to f/5.6 so that’s kind of my aperture I want to use. I’ve got to use f/5.6 dialed in on the camera. Let’s take a shot and
see how this works. So that looks really well. We get some great shadows on Beth, perhaps they’re not as sharp as I would like, and definitely that background isn’t working for me, so what I’m going to do is, I’m going to get this. Now this is a Snoot. This is the MagMod rubber Snoot and this is going to help me to do two things. First of all it’s going to
help by making the source of the light even smaller, and even smaller means even sharper- edged shadows, but also it means that the light won’t spill onto the background so my background should go very dark and
hopefully black. One of the great things about gray is you can turn it to black if you don’t light it, even in a small studio like this. OK, now that will require re-metering, so I’ll get my flash meter. Again, point the little cone towards the flash, and that’s cost me nearly a whole
stop of light, so I increase the flash power, get it back to f/5.6 and then I’m good to shoot again. OK, here we go. Just turn your head towards me slightly, so can you bring it around a bit more? OK, hold it right there. That’s terrific. OK, keep your head still, but move your eyes just slightly around to this side. And that worked really well. I’ve got a beautiful, black background, great shadows and just a hint of detail in the black lace itself. OK, let’s set one more up Right, so this time, what we’ve got is Hessian, which is sack cloth. It is cloth with lot’s of little holes in it, and of course it’s the holes that are
going to give me the shadows and create a really – hopefully – a really dramatic
shot. Now, again I need to meter because this is a different material so a different amount
of light will come from this side to this side and it’s this side I need to meter for
because we need to know how much light is on Beth, passing through the Gobo. So, if I meter here, I’m finding actually again, I’ve lost nearly a stop, 2/3s of a stop so I could increase the power, double check, make sure I’m actually right. Yeah, I’m back to f/5.6 once again so my exposure is back where I want it to be. Let’s take some shots. Those pictures have a completely different feel. They almost feel like summer. They have that warmth through the Hessian and that works so well with Beth as well. That really makes a great Gobo. With Gobos it’s all about the shadows. How you create those is entirely up to you and hopefully this
video has given you some ideas of things you could use that maybe weren’t
photographically designed in the first place. Now, if you want to see more videos from myself and the other amazing presenters here on AdoramaTV, you know what you’ve got to do? You’ve got to be clicking on that subscribe button. I’m Gavin Hoey. Thanks for watching.