Style: Dramatic, emotive, evolving
@nickfancher | nickfancher.com
My lighting usually yields vibrant colors
and dark, monochromatic tones. I’m not
sure why I go to such visual polar opposites
(this may be something that I need to go
over with my therapist), though I am told
that they are immediately recognizable
and fall within the “Nick Fancher” signature
look. This is something that I arrived at after
years of obsessively shooting and pushing
my techniques in both lighting and post-processing.
I try to figure out the best way to
interpret my subject. Perhaps the wardrobe
has a cool texture that I want to flush out,
using a hard light at a severe angle in
order to create shadows and drama. My
techniques are constantly evolving as I
make small changes to each shoot. If in the
last shoot I had overlaid a soft light source
with a hard light source, I might try two soft
lights and gelling one of them.
I go through phases; last summer I spent
a few weeks experimenting a lot with red
and cyan gels, then I moved on briefly to
cyan and gold before moving away from
color and on to mixing light qualities, where
I explored fluorescent and tungsten light
sources and balancing colored strobe with
I learn by trying new things. Don’t just
light your subject with an umbrella at a
three-quarter angle because you know it
will look decent. Think about what you’re
trying to convey.
I made a gobo out of black foam board, cut a 3-inch
wide gap that was about 18 inches in height that
I placed close to the model, and a white seamless
was behind her. The hard, unmodified flash went
about 5 feet away from the gobo to ensure a crisp
shadow line. I wanted to shoot at a low ISO in order
to keep my aperture wider, creating a fall-off in
focus and making for a softer image.
Placing a white seamless behind the model, I
put the flash in a softbox with an egg crate grid
to minimize the light on the backdrop.
I wrote a few books on the
topic of using small flash in
the latest of which is Studio
Anywhere 2: A Photographer’s
Guide to Shaping Hard Light.
ARTISTIC BRILLIANCE: NICK FANCHER
Lighting: Cactus RF60
Wireless Flash, Cactus CB- 60
Softbox with egg crate grid
Camera: Canon 5D Mark III
Lens: Canon 35mm f/1.4L
Exposure: f/5 at 1/160 sec.
If in the last shoot I
had overlaid a soft light
source with a hard light
source, I might try two
soft lights and gelling
one of them.