Achieving perfect soft lighting with the Elinchrom FIVE
by Yuliya Panchenko
In this feature, Yuliya Panchenko shares her expertise in creating captivating floral portraits, from designing and selecting flowers to using complex lighting techniques with the Elinchrom FIVE. Her work highlights the beauty of floral imagery and capturing the essence of her subjects.
Combining two loves, portrait lighting and botanicals
The timeless appeal of flowers in art has captured the hearts and minds of artists and observers alike for centuries. This enduring allure has inspired artists, such as myself, to seek innovative ways of incorporating floral elements into our work. For this particular project, I collaborated with talented florist Irina Schulzenko, who specialises in wearable flowers, to merge my love for portraiture with the beauty of botanicals. By transforming my young client, Yelizaveta, into a mystical fairy, we aimed to craft an enchanting portrait that not only captured her essence but would also serve as a stunning piece of art on her walls.
Creative portraiture tells a story
Understanding the story behind each portrait helps create a depth of meaning that resonates with both the subject and the viewer. In this case, Yelizaveta aspired to embody a graceful forest fairy with the power to bring life to her surroundings. Bearing the weight of a tantalising secret, her mystical aura needed to exude warmth and intrigue viewers. To achieve this, we settled on using floral colours that evoked warmth, like light brown, orange, and yellow. Careful attention was given to the types of flowers used for this portrait. Each flower had to not only add to the composition aesthetically but also hold vibrant colour and versatility for various arrangements. We opted for a combination of small branches, roses, orchids, and daisies that provided us with an abundance of options in terms of shape, size, and texture. The warm hues of these blossoms blended seamlessly with one another, offering a sense of cohesion throughout the portrait.
A reliable lighting system is essential
Floral portrait sessions require a unique combination of creative vision, attention to detail, perfect lighting, and of course, patience. As a photographer, I had to carefully plan my shoot, select the appropriate flowers, and arrange them in a visually appealing manner. I had to work closely with my subject, ensuring she feels comfortable and relaxed in front of the camera while holding delicate and often heavy flower arrangements. Having a reliable lighting setup like the Elinchrom FIVE helps me to focus on these crucial aspects without worrying about quality of light, power interruptions or inconsistent lighting.
“To achieve this perfect soft lighting I used the Elinchrom FIVE with the Indirect Litemotiv Octa Softbox 190cm as my main light”
For this floral portrait project my goal was to achieve a beautiful soft light to highlight my subject’s best features as well as texture and tones of our delicate flowers, and bring the floral portraits to life. To achieve the perfect soft lighting I used the Elinchrom FIVE Head with the Litemotiv Octa Softbox 190cm as my main light. The Elinchrom FIVE is a powerful light source. Its high-capacity battery ensures that my shoot remains uninterrupted, and its USB-C charging capabilities allow me to continue shooting while charging the battery, regardless of its power level. This feature is particularly handy in time-consuming floral portrait sessions where every minute counts and maintaining consistency in lighting is crucial.
Make images pop with the right lighting modifiers
To add more depth and dimension to my portraits, I had two rim lights to separate my subject from the background. The Rotalux Strip Softboxes 50x130cm, when used with Elinchrom lights, created a subtle yet effective lighting effect that highlighted the contours of my subject’s body as well as the branches and floral arrangements and added a three-dimensional quality to my images. The softness of the main light complements the strip softboxes, balancing the overall illumination and producing a harmonious result.
Creating the perfect soft lighting for floral portrait sessions can be a challenging yet rewarding endeavor. By using the Elinchrom FIVE with various Elinchrom modifiers, I could achieve beautiful results during my session. With a reliable and powerful lighting setup, I could focus on the artistic aspects of my work and bring my floral portrait vision to life.
This article was originally published at elinchrom.com on 4th April 2023. View it HERE.
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