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Joe McNally's Lighting Tip of the Week
Floor It: Never underestimate the floor as a lighting source.

Ever look at your subject and wonder why their face is all aglow with the light? It's often because the light is coming from below. Look around. The light from the door or from the it hitting the floor?

Never underestimate the floor as a light source. Set up your main light. Look average? Need a little glamour? A little fill? Throw a Lastolite panel* on the floor...or a fill board...or a bed sheet. Bounce a light into it at -2 EV off the main light value.

Presto. Your subject's face starts to come alive, those undereye shadows soften, and your average executive, well, I'll stop short of saying you'll turn 'em into George Clooney, but it's helpful, let's put it that way.

Don't try this if your subject wears glasses. We're talking hit city, bad reflections. But, if your subject is a high-fashion model in Shanghai and you're shooting her in a hip nightclub, hit the floor and go for the glow!

*Lastolite Panel: A kit that has both diffusion and reflective material that fits onto a rigid, collapsible frame. Comes in 3x3', 3x6', and 6x6' sizes. Ideal for diffusing or flagging light sources, or simulating window light. Breaks down into a small, light duffel bag. Very roadworthy.

Excerpted from: The Moment It Clicks. Photography secrets from one of the world's top shooters. By Joe McNally, Copyright 2008 Used with permission of Pearson Education, Inc. and New Riders.