I finally broke down after 14 years of photography and bought a set of strobes last week. It was a three light kit with several modifiers, just enough to get me through this year and build up more “cinematic” looking images.
The difference between strobes and other ways of artificially lighting, like speedlights and hot lights? Power and versatility. I can shoot at lower f-stops thanks to the power and modify the spread better than a speedlight.
The first shoot I did with the new setup was with Briana Robertson, shooting material for my upcoming Scream Queen show. These are images influenced by stereotypical portrayals of women in horror and sci-fi films, so it was important to have that cinematic approach I mentioned above. Cinematic lighting just means the lighting is super controlled to emphasize particular storytelling elements and emotion. The opposite of cinematic lighting would be “doing the best with what is available,” which can work, but as one could imagine, a movie wouldn’t be very good if people just worked with what they had on hand and didn’t try to tell a story through angles and lighting.
After an hour of shooting one light went out, so Briana and I finished some non-Scream Queen images by using window light and a small reflector.