Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Light Hackers Photography - 'Lighting Deconstructed'

Lighting a subject is part technical, part intuitive and part creative.

Here we will be posting some of our recent shots from our portrait sessions, and 'deconstructing' the lighting that created them.

First off to get us started is 'At Rest'

In this portrait of a dancer we wanted to explore the theme 'At Rest' ... However for a more visual treat I loosely based the portrait on the famous image, Lewis Morley's 1963 portrait of Christine Keeler.

In my mind I wanted to include a great deal of shadows both in the subject, and in the scene surrounding her. The difference to Lewis Morley's original, was that I wanted to reverse the setting / location, to have elements of a high key portrait. The very large windows with net curtains were a perfect option. I chose the natural light streaming through the windows to burn out slightly around the central focus. 

For the main key light I went for my favoured modifier, a 24" Beauty Dish. I wrapped the light around Deborah's face, by feathering the beauty dish so the light falls off dramatically with only the edges lighting her, this is the typical 'Rembrandt effect'. Metering on the highlights in Deborah's skin tones, I exposed at f4.This meant for a 1 - 1 1/2 stop over exposed window, metered at f5.6 - f8.

Making the pointe shoes the focus an added accent came from another gridded strobe positioned just off camera left. Being that this was a 'Strobist' set-up using flashguns and no modelling lights, the accent strobe was the hardest to position... Several test shots were need to position it to only illuminate the pointe shoes with no extra shadows created from fall-off. Then based on my set exposure of f4, my camera assistant simply dialled down the power output to an equal ratio.

In this 'Lighting Diagram' the full lighting arrangement and settings are shown.

The final BTS shot shows the setup we created... although taken prior to the final beauty dish placement, being directly above Deborah.

Well I hope you gleamed something positive from this write-up.. We will continue to post more 'Lighting Deconstructed' blogs in this series. Not only in photography, but also in genres of filming and especially in specialists subjects we carry out in chromakey work.

Please feel free to comment and let us know what topics you would like us to 'deconstruct'.

For any enquiries or bookings, please get in touch.


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