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LET’S LEARN PORTRAIT LIGHTING TECHNIQUE

posted Mar 26, 2011, 1:23 PM by lyvuong@icsphoto.us   [ updated Apr 21, 2011, 11:09 AM by Tony Le ]

LIGHTING EQUIPMENT

·         Main light with soft box or umbrella. 
·         Fill light with soft box or umbrella. 
·         Background light with snoop and gel filters for diffusion if necessary. 
·         Hair light with snoop.

DETERMINING THE CORRECT EXPOSURE 

·         Test with the DSLR camera or other camera that you plan on using for taking picture. 
·         Use of a Kodak Grey card and or gray scale or histogram indicated on DSLR’s LCD. 
·         What you are looking for is a consistent Density of Image.

APPROPRIATE LIGHTING TECHNIQUE 

The success of a photographic portrait depends as much on the artistic and creative use of lighting as it does on skills and use camera. 

                ·         Lighting creates the impact, styles, and the moods. 
                ·         High-contrast enhances strength, character

One method of creating High Contrast is to use a single specular light, no fill; in fact on the normal fill side use subtractive or diffuse lighting.

·         Lower-contrast lighting produces a softer image.

No exposure difference between the meter measured sides of the subject.

APPLY TO CREATIVE IMPACT   

As the angle of light is increased away from the camera axis, the reflective quality of that light array becomes BRIGHTER.

·         All lights that strike the subject should have the same incident volume as the fill light. The exception to this is the main light.
·         The main light should be one to one and a half of f-stops brighter. 
·         All meter readings are incident, the DSLR camera or other camera must be set based on the light measured from the main light.

PROFILE OF MODEL 

The profile is a study of only one side of the face from the chin to the forehead.

·         The widest, most fullest side of the face is most suitable because it usually has the most contours. 
·         Be careful for the white eyed look, avoid it by having the subject look at an area three to five degrees closer to the camera position instead of straight out in front of them. 
·         The top of the head of a male model should be tilted three to five degrees towards the background. 

·         For female it’s toward the camera three to five degrees.

TIPS OF LIGHT 

Main Light is what sets the density of the image by the exposure setting.

  • Place main light closest to the subject, but just outside of the DSLR camera or other camera view.
  • Subject must be facing the main light if wish to photograph the other side of model’s face, move the light to the other side.
  • Meter the amount of light falling onto the subject, using a hand held meter with the light dome over the sensor.
  • Take this setting from the meter at set the aperture of the camera to it. Reading is f 3.5, f 4.5, f 5.6 based on DSLR camera or other camera speed and the power from light.

Fill Light is what sets the shadows or softens of the image by the exposure setting.

  • Fill Light fills the shadows or softens subject, the fill light causes the contrast or lessens it.
  • A good fill light source is large and diffused. It is set behind the camera. Two light heads bouncing off of the white wall that is behind camera, causing a very large light source and very diffused.
  • The fill light again fills onto the shadow areas with light and softens the ratio and the shadows.
  • Meter the amount of light falling onto the subject using a hand held meter with the light dome over the sensor.
  • Need one to one and a half less light falling onto the subject from the fill light as compared to the main light meter reading. Set a reading of f 4  for one stop difference.

Hair Light is to add some highlight to the hair for details.

  • The hair lights job is to add some highlight to the hair.
  • Stop - Do not use a hair light on bald headed male, or hair bright bleach blondes of female.
  • Hair light should be thru a snoop and must skim over the top of the hair.
  • Hair light should measure weaker than the fill light.
  • If the main light is moved to the other side, and face the subject the other direction then the hair light must be moved as well.
  • Be careful that the hair light does not illuminate the ear, it just skims only the top of the hair.

Back Ground Light is a separation light between the subject to background.

  • It called a separation light for the background light illuminates the background and sets it apart from the subject.
  • Background light can be set off to the side of the background and skimmed across the background or positioned behind the subject on a low profile stand, use of a honey comb grid helps to diffuse and prevent a hot spot look.
  • Background light must not be stronger than the main light reading, it may be lessoned for effect.
  • A neat effect is to turn this light towards the subject if they are against a dark background.
SUMMARY

Just A Reminder!

·         The only required light is the main light. 
·         Fill can be from a reflector, bouncing light from the main light onto the shadow area of the model’s face.
·         Shadow side of the face is usually positioned towards the camera, for a slimmer look.
·         Proper use of main light will have catch lights in the eyes of model.
·         Master these two lights of main and fill, then add the hair and background lights.

Success of a photographic portrait depends as much on the artistic and creative use of advanced lighting technique for impact, Style and Mood; Apply a little photo shop no more than 3% for enhance the image. 

NOW, LET'S PRACTICE LIGHTING TECHNIQUE...



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