Shooting in the Freight Elevator

Shooting in the Freight Elevator

A Hidden Gem in the Copycat Building


In this series with model Echo Manika, just a single modifier was used: a 21" beauty dish about 7-8 feet away. This was more out of necessity than by choosing. While I do love the versatility that a beauty dish offers, it just doesnt do much in a space so tight.... not when used traditionally.


In this setup image, you get a behind the scenes look at where the light and modifier was placed in relation to everything else. Like i said, it is pretty much pointed straight in.

This head on view of the Paul C Buff beauty dish, on an Alien Bee 800 shows the attached 15 degree grid. While knocking down the total light output and reducing power, it does also help curb any light spill. In fact, the addition of the grid more tightly closes down the cone of light. In this particular case, I controlled the size of the cone of light, just by moving the light forward and back, physically.


Earlier, I mentioned that when the beautydish is placed straight on and used traditionally, the entire interior of the freight (or any small room really) would've been lit evenly... and that is SO boring!

In the tight elevator the grid was a necessity, but I needed more. I prefer to use a beauty dish over softboxes in many situations simply because of the "hard edge" that the metal dish produces. Softboxes, even ones with deep lips, will not produce a hard, definitive edge on their own. Note that when I say "hard edge" what I am referring to is the outter edge of the light thrown by the modifier, not the light itself.

When turned, the hard edge of a metal modifier, in this case a beauty dish, produces some dramatic lighting effects in the tight space. The lesson here is: MOVE YOUR LIGHT, turn it, twist it, tilt it. Find something out of the ordinary.

Please note that the frieght elevator is access to all building tennants and is always subject to avilability. The freight elevator connot be reserved.

Looking for more shooting ideas? Return to the blog or calendar to reserve studio time

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Post by Atomic Joshua

Photographer + Filmmaker turned studio owner.