Favorite Light Setups

Behind the Shot - Video

Jul 28 2022 • 1 hr 28 mins

LA based photographer Ian Spanier was first on the show back in 2019 for a conversation about Classic Portraits & Classic Lighting, discussing a portrait of actor Jeff bridges. His lighting style immediately struck me as something so classic, and timeless. Since then, Ian and I have become friends, and when he was invited to do a lighting workshop for the photography students at California Baptist University in my hometown he invited me to sit in. Watching his laid back style was inspiring. Ian has a way of seeming so calm, even as 15 things are happening around him, any of which could derail the project. Recently, two things got me thinking about a different kind of show. One was talking to Vanessa Joy at WPPI this year, and wanting to get her on the show again. The other was watching Ian work at that workshop. I started to really look at what the show meant to me, and why I started it. Then it hit me... I look at Behind the Shot as a backwards interview. Instead of me interviewing a photographer, the photographer and I interview the photograph. Those "normal" Behind the Shot episodes are based on looking at one image, through it's many aspects, like the composition, lighting, posing, props, location, and post production. But, what I reversed that? What if we looked at one aspect, and how that element looks when applied in various photographic examples? This show is one of the results of that idea, and the second in the series. It's a show focused on Ian Spanier's favorite lighting setups. In this episode we are going to look at four of Ian's go-to setups, using a few images as examples, along with some behind-the-scenes images. Ian will help us understand the different characteristics of each modifier and setup, as well as the reason he might pick one setup over another, based on location, subject, or intended use. Ian will also introduce us the brand new umbrella, and idea he had and then developed with Westcott, the Westcott Deep Umbrella. This is a chance to speed up your on-set workflow, and start using tested and proven light setups on your jobs. If you're new to lighting, and need a bit of confidence boost, Ian's knowledge can help you get over any fears and start lighting you subjects with confidence. Oh yeah, in case you were wondering, the first show in this series was the one I did with Vanessa Joy focused on Posing Tips. It's no wonder that Ian's work is so refined. He began taking photographs at six years old, and he majored in photography in college. While he ended up working in publishing for some time, as an editor, photography never left him. He ended up teaching himself medium and large format, as well as lighting. Today Ian is a respected and published artist. His first full book of published work, "Playboy, a Guide to Cigars" arrived in cigar shops in November 2009, with the public version hitting retail stores in the Spring of 2010. The book is a collection of his photographs made in six countries, and spanning two and a half years. His second book project was a different subject altogether, and “Local Heroes: America’s Volunteer Fire Fighters,” came out to critical acclaim in the Fall of 2012. His personal project "Right Next Door," has been featured on Huffingtonpost.com (here and here), The Daily Mail, and the Platypod Blog, and he's not even finished shooting! As an educator, Ian loves to share his experience as a lecturer for Canon, Westcott, PPA and the NY Photo Expo, B&H, The Sante Fe Workshop (2019) and The Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC. Ian is an Ambassador for Westcott as a "Top Pro," ThinkTank Photo, Spider Holster, as well as Hoodman USA, Sekonic, Naroo Global Masks, CamRanger, and finally, he's on Imagenomic's featured photographer list. The original “Masters of Photography” have always inspired Spanier as they shot what they saw. For him, there is no “one” subject that he photographs; he shoots what he sees. This approach has certainly paid off too.