Hello - this is a question for pre-production, but I'm having a lot of trouble lighting my studio at night so that i get the effect of a daylight shoot. Does anyone know of a forum outside of here for figuring out lighting issues for photo/video?
Thinking about your question, back in the day, folk used to talk about the Dave Hill look and everyone had a theory about he made his images look the way they did. The crazy expensive Lucis Art plugin (I think it used to cost around $400!) was a favourite, but Dave was interviewed on StudioNet years ago, and said it was all down to using four 2000W studio lights.
Sadly, I don't have a link for studionet now, and can't find it, but David Hobby has a chat with Dave on his Strobist site.
The defacto book for all things lighting is Fil Hunter's 'Light Science & Magic'. It's a book full of 'Wow, if only I knew that' moments. I can't think of any other technical book that touched me so deeply the first time I read it. I think there is a PDF of an earlier edition online if you hunt for it.
What Dave was known for was lighting groups — usually rock groups — individually so he could get up close with his BIG lights, and then stitching them together in post. He'd stage the shot and mark the positions so the talent knew where to stand/sit whatever. The idea was that they did not cast shadows on each other.
There's another story about him shooting a famous band (I think it might have been Fleetwood Mac, but I am not sure). Anyway they were chatting away while Dave and his team set things up, and I think I mentioned he liked to get in close with the lights. A 2kw studio light has quite a POP when it goes off at full power, and as he'd forgotten to warn his subjects, he famously scared the life out of them.
My secret weapon was a 1.2m octobox, but I only had a Bowens 500w travel kit (which was still plenty powerful). But the point is that if you want to look natural, then it helps to go big like this Profoto modifier
I did a two day workshop with NZ's premier studio photographer Bret Lucas some years back, and he had a theory about the best outside conditions for portraits, and that was that wispy thin cloud we sometimes get. It's enough to give a soft diffuse overal light, but there is still enough direct sunlight coming through to give the subject some modeling.