How to make real beams of light stream through your shot with flash
If there’s one thing in photography that never gets old, it’s light beams. Especially for interiors. You have the sun streaming through a window, lighting up the haze in the atmosphere and you get that nice beam of light that just seems to wrap everything in its warmth. But they’re difficult, if not impossible, to predict. In this video, Gavin Hoey shows us how we can make our own, any time we like, using flash.
Creating those beams is fairly simple. All you need is a light source, a way to funnel the light into a directional beam, and then something in the air for it to light up along the way. You don’t quite get the same effect on the inverse square law that you do with the real sun, and the spread isn’t quite as parallel, but for most images, it’s usually close enough.
In this setup, Gavin sets up his light outdoors on the other side of the window a few metres away. The light he’s using is the Godox AD600Pro with a long throw reflector. This will help to project more of that light forward and simulate the look of the sun, blasting through the haze. You want to try to get your light as far back from the window as you can, while still giving yourself enough power to light up the haze.
The next thing you need to do is to give the room some haze in the atmosphere. For this, Gavin uses his fog machine as the building he’s in has electricity. If you’re shooting somewhere that doesn’t, then there are various sprays and such available to give you some temporary smoke.
It’s a very effective look, and quite simple to achieve.
John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.