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Lighting Portraits with a Prism Gobo, DIY Barn Doors, and Window Blinds

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Photographer Nick Fancher often does high-quality shoots with simple locations and do-it-yourself gear — he published a book on the subject earlier this year that’s titled Studio Anywhere. For a recent portrait shoot, Fancher visited his model’s apartment and shaped light using a custom prism gobo, DIY barn doors, and the blinds on the model’s door.

Here’s what Fancher’s custom-made prism gobo looks like. It “throws more light than Zeus,” he says:

A photo posted by Nick Fancher (@nickfancher) on

Fancher created his DIY barn doors a couple months ago with some black foam board and black gaff after going to his local camera shop for a commercial solution and coming up empty. Now he never travels without it.

A photo posted by Nick Fancher (@nickfancher) on

Here’s a 4-minute behind-the-scenes walkthrough of the shoot:

“When I showed up at the models apartment, I noticed that her door blinds also made a fantastic gobo when the flash was fired through them,” Fancher tells PetaPixel.

setup

“For the first couple scenarios I played with using the barn doors or the door blinds or both,” Fancher says. “Then I tried out the prism. I wasn’t loving the prism light by itself, but when combined with the light through the blinds, it had a really nice effect.”

Shooting through the blinds only.
Shooting through the blinds only.
Shooting through the prism only.
Shooting through the prism only.
Shooting through the prism and the blinds.
Shooting through the prism and the blinds.

Here are some of the resulting photos from the shoot:

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Fancher is currently working on a follow-up book to Studio Anywhere. The new work will focus more on hard light scenarios and should be published sometime in the summer of 2016.


Image credits: Photographs and video by Nick Fancher and used with permission

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