Brian Finke flies coach and lights the hell out of flight attendants

August 18, 2010 — 2 Comments
brian finke's photo lighting of flight attendants on guess the lighting blog

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of flight attendants on guess the lighting blog

copyright, Brian Finke

Brian traveled the world and embedded himself with different groups of airline employees for his photo book Flight Attendants. This image of a training exercise (I’m guessing) was shot with 3 speedlights and 2 overhead, reading lights.

Camera: Canon 1Ds Mark II with 35mm f.1.4 lens, set on a tripod 8 feet from model. Shot at 1/60, f5.6, ISO 400.

Lighting: Knowing that Brian shot much of this series while on real flights, I think he used smaller speedlights instead of packs and heads. The key light is coming from a speedlight at f5.6 held high by an assistant out of frame and to camera right of the flight attendant (it catches the back of her head as well as the smoke-filled cabin). Another speedlight at f2.8 is held by an assistant high and just to the right of the camera. This helps light the smoke near the top of the frame. The last speedlight is on-camera at f2.8 and slightly fills the model and the area under the overhead compartments. The two reading lights are airline issue.

Comments: Lunch during the shoot was served in Saran Wrapped plates and drinks were poured into plastic cups. If you asked nicely, you were allowed to keep the whole can of soda. Cocktails and wine were an additional $6. Brian also tried to avoid any turbulence with the model by making a moratorium on mile high club jokes.

  • Brian Finke

    Pretty close. But I am a Hasselblad film shooter, 503cw body and 60mm lens with Fuji ProH 120mm film, ISO 400 overexposed by 2 stops . My portable strobes of choice are the Quantum Q flashes with radio slaves, which make it easy for my assistant and I to keep it spontaneous, flashes hand held. This image was made at an Icelandair flight attendant school in Reykjavik, Iceland towards the end of my Flight Attendant project.

    • thanks for writing in, brian. i thought these were hassy film shots but then i thought, “no way, too tough on airplanes.” Should have gone with the gut.