As many of you know, I am a lighting guy and I put a lot of thought into why I light something the way I do. I will often try something new, at least new to me, and see how I like it and how it works with my subject. One of the recent ‘experiments’ is what I want to share today. I am calling it the ‘Butterfly Box’
Butterfly lighting is nothing new. Hollywood has used this for decades. A light in the butterfly position is above the subject’s head and in front of them pointed downward at about a 45º angle or so. The idea is to light the mask of the face and have a downward cast shadow under the nose, cheekbone and chin. Often times a reflector card or panel is then used to fill in the shadow, adjusting the contrast ratio. Many times, if not all, you find this demonstrated or taught by using a beauty dish or other hard parabolic type light modifier. While those work great and I use them as well, I was looking for a way to get a greater spread of light down the body, while avoiding a hot spot that the previous modifiers can causes all while controlling the spill of light on the background and other areas of my subject. You can see the set-up in the following images (I need to clean the camera room;)
I found this in a Profoto 1′x6′ strip box. By placing this above my subject in a position parallel it the floor and by placing my subject at the back edge of the light, I was able to get the control, quality and direction I was looking for. I added a piece of white foam core as a soft fill. The images within this post, all utilize this technique. For even more control of the spread, use a soft grid attachment. I hope you give this try. A 1×4 box will work too but will not be able to get as even of light across a full length subject as it will begin to fall off faster. Give it a try an let me know how it goes for you. If you like this and want to see other diagrams and techniques, take a look at my new “lighting for Sales” mobile app.
Happy creating, Cris.