I sometimes use 4-5 lights for a portrait but lighting a large interior space needs something more.
A good client asked me to do a shoot (30+ images) of their paint showroom in Dubai for internal use. Now, I am not an interiors shooter and this is a massive showroom. So after explaining this to the client, they still asked me to go ahead.
Lighting for me is natural, but Photoshop is my major weakness and interiors need lots of it. So I watched a few YouTube vids on techniques and did a few test shots.
The daylight view was not great. Harsh ambient light and unwanted reflections flooded the showroom. There was also a car park to the left.
To solve this issue, I shot at night. Using my Canon 5d3 with 14mm f2.8L II lens on a tripod, I took a base shot using just ambient light (Image below). I wanted to have the back display panels lit by existing wall lights. Then I would just paint the rest of my own lighting in.
I set a 10 sec timer to my Canon 5d3 and then worked my way around the showroom with a Profoto B1, painting a small area one shot at a time. The Profoto B1 is easy to hold and powerful enough for lighting large interior spaces.
This technique allows specific areas to be painted creatively and gives a lighting effect that could not be produced even with multiple lights.
Slightly overpainting each image leaves room for fine tuning lighting in each layer as you can mask in the light at around 40-50% etc.
Painting the showroom exterior was the hardest part. The low ceiling, glass front and acute angled exterior window (on the left of the showroom) made it impossible to spread light evenly on the showroom exterior.
Once done, I stacked all the images together in Photoshop, masking in my lighting one image at a time. The final image took several hours to edit as it contains a total of 18 separate images, with a 3.8gb file size!
This was a first for me and also a great learning curve. I have never used this technique before and didn’t realise just how much editing is involved…
Gear used: Canon 5d3, 14mm f2.8L II, Profoto B1, zoom reflector.
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