How to approximate diffuse studio lighting outside

by Roman   Last Updated March 04, 2017 01:18 AM

I am planning to make a series of photos of passers-by at different locations. The idea is to ask people who walk by at, say, a music festival, a pedestrian zone, a park, or similar places to pose for me for five minutes. I want to emphasize how different these people are by having the same, neutral background and light in all the pictures. The style I'm going for is similiar to the portraits by Thomas Ruff: White background and rather diffuse light.

Example image: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/93/40/80/9340805a954a153b55cb78f056984c2b.jpg

This would be easy in a studio, but I need to be able to put up my equipment at public places, which makes studio flash lights impractical. Using backdrop paper rolls might also be complicated, since they require setting up two tripods and I think even very slight wind could make them unusable. Obviously, with strong wind or rain, it's probably impossible to do anything, but I would at least like to get similar and reproducible results in sunny or cloudy weather. Being able to also do this at night would be a nice plus. I will have an assistant with me who could do things like holding a softbox.

So to summarize, I am looking for a light setup that can do the following things:

  • Can be operated outside and in public places.
  • Allows to shoot portraits and upper body photos.
  • Creates diffuse light and background with little structure.
  • Is as independent as possible from weather conditions.
  • Can be done with two people.

I'm aware that a setup that does all these things at once probably does not exist and that I will have to make some compromises.



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