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Studio, Portrait, Still Life, Lighting Equipment and Technique Continuous and Strobe Lighting. (The Sun is considered continuous!) Great ideas are really ten a penny! Technique in setting up the subject is, of course, essential. However, the ability to bring out form, texture, tonality and color is where the skill in lighting provides all the keys to engraving one's ideas on the delivered picture.

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  #1  
Old September 12th, 2007, 02:57 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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For those who need to know basics, the nature and purposes of layers and masking we've started a thread here. So this is not for those basics.

We'd welcome discussion here on the basics of shading and mood!

Lighting out brings out mood, purpose, motivations, character and so forth. Experiment and share setups that show an effect on our emotions. Just show the picture, setup and describe your feelings!

If one has a technic one uses, then try to show a setup and the light effect on a subject. Sketch out and photograph if you wish.If one has a reference to a work elsewhere, if possible ,link that image for editorial comment where it's not disallowed.

Lights, shaping, action!

Asher
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Last edited by Asher Kelman; September 14th, 2007 at 11:28 PM.
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Old September 12th, 2007, 06:52 PM
Rachel Foster Rachel Foster is offline
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Ok, this is a real grabber for me. My portraiture has developed into something that is dominated by this very issue. I go for lighting that is moody, am fascinated with bringing out shadows that 1) set the scene, and 2) highlight specific aspects of the model's face.

Here, I tried to evoke a mysterious, ageless feeling

Lighting to bring out a feeling/mood and to highlight various aspects of the model's face/body is my primary goal with portraits.

Last edited by Asher Kelman; September 13th, 2007 at 07:49 PM. Reason: simplify
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  #3  
Old September 13th, 2007, 12:11 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Hi Rachel,

A generous set of poses. I have, at your request, simplified your set to just one.

My immediate question is how to separate the pose and expression of the subject from the effects of the lighting. It's hard to understand what's going on when the subject is already clearly articulating feeling or identity. One would want to keep that modest and constant and see how light optimizes that or some other quality.

With 4 different images, (now reduced to one) it would be too complex to follow all the vibrations going on at once. So, in future, pick one subject and one set of feelings and then vary just the light and only the light and see how far we can go? One can shape, vary distribution, intensity, quality of light. (Not, for the moment color as that is another entirely complex dimension for a separate thread!) I'd suggest say fear, joy or other feelings and then the model does not aggressively seek this mood, but the lighting brings it out.

We are just exploring this so we need to find our way carefully!

Asher
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Last edited by Asher Kelman; September 13th, 2007 at 07:52 PM.
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Old September 13th, 2007, 08:15 PM
Rachel Foster Rachel Foster is offline
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Thanks for the edit.

I've one model who struck the same pose as best she could. Granted two photos have a slight smiile, and one is larger (more zoomed than the others). I set the cam on the tripod (and except for the one photo) touched only the trigger. Lights I moved all around.

I usually use a black background, and this was my first foray into a lighter back. I prefer black.

Anyway, here it is. (Many thanks to my model who was so very gracious in posing for this.)








I hope this is what you had in mind?? I was not sure if you meant actual shots or photoshop. I'm going to feel foolish if it was the latter, but I'm getting comfy with that state of affairs...ha!

Last edited by Rachel Foster; September 13th, 2007 at 08:55 PM.
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Old September 13th, 2007, 11:52 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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A great start. Let's thank the model!

Now you have her and we are looking at one pose. Start with one low power light. Try just moving it clockwise around the face from a circle 3 ft circle centered on the face that is 10" in front of the face from 12 o'clock (i.e. 0 degrees) to 6 o'clock (90 degrees). Thatís 4 pictures.

You will see that as the angle of the shading changes so will the mood and drama.

Now move the circle 3 ft in front off her and repeat.

What feelings/mood do these various pictures give?

The single oblique light gives the 3D depth and sculpturing needed to make things "real" in the 2D photograph.

These are the variables:
  • Distance of the light from the face

  • Size of the light source: the larger softer shading.

  • Brightness (Watt seconds or watts for continuous lighting (almost all flashes you use close to the face will be far to bright and annoying so use a small light, say 10 watts instead in a frosted bulb.)

  • The angle of the light, as it is changed, illuminates and shadows the chin, brows, eye sockets, lips and so forth differently. This gives the varied impressions of mood and thought. Light that is directly in front of the face can abolish a lot of the micro detail as the tiny shadows vanish. This can be an advantage. One would then add another light from the side to put back the dimension you need, but here we are using one light only!

  • Diffused versus specular light.

  • Color: forget about that for now!

Set the camera to manual and use the histogram to check that your brights are all the way to the right. Ideally, take a picture of a grey, white and black striped card to fill your framing and you should get 3 peaks spread across the width of the histogram with two troughs hitting the x axis between the black area and the grey peak and between the grey peak and the white.

Of course you could simply take a large light box in close front of her and another light to the side and do wonders. However, this exercise is limited in scope. It's not to get a perfect portrait. It's just to see how the angle and distance from the face of a small light source can alter the mood from threatening to frightened and really positive without altering the model's expression much at all.

Let's just do that for now.

(After that you will need some 2'x2' white and black cards and clamps to hold them to one side or other or below the subjects face. Not yet, mind you as we dont want to shape, modify or reflect the light much until you have a basic lighting you like. Since we don't know what you will choose, we have to wait and see. You might like the angle and distance from the face but want to change the size of the light source, all this we can do later!)

I don't know what flash you have but you need just the very lowest setting and you may have to put something over the light to decrease it's output or else use a the smallest bare electric light bulb, a candle or a lantern.

Pick the best set of 4 shots, 2 sets, one close and the other 3 ft away. That would mean 2 post with 4 pics in each. Describe how each picture makes you feel.


Asher
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Last edited by Asher Kelman; September 14th, 2007 at 12:35 AM.
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  #6  
Old September 14th, 2007, 05:25 AM
Rachel Foster Rachel Foster is offline
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Oh, great idea! Systematic approach...I love it.
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Old September 14th, 2007, 09:55 AM
Nicole Sanders Nicole Sanders is offline
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These are some of what I got. First time playing with lighting. I will have to try again sometime with the new tips and info I've learned since. :-)
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Old September 14th, 2007, 11:23 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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We might want to start with the head facing us and then move the light clockwise on the left side of the subject. Then we can consider one very simple set of angle changes.

After that another set.

Or else, do what you wish, just describe your setup and the meaning the shading evokes.

With no text it's hard to know what you feel about particular lighting.

Asher
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Old September 15th, 2007, 03:46 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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I have pruned chat and redundant posts here since we are trying to focus on one topic: feelings induced by light. My setup has the subject facie the camera. We move one light on one of two circular planes, close to and 3ft away from the front of the subject.

While this basic excercise may be suit some, others may already know a trick in mood lighting or two to share! If you have a mood nicely defined by light, show the setup and explain the resultant photograph and how it moves you.

Thanks,

Asher
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Old September 15th, 2007, 04:39 AM
KrisCarnmarker KrisCarnmarker is offline
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Asher, permit me to reprise an image from an old thread, as I find it is suitable here.

The details of the lighting setup can be found in the original thread. I can't say I had a particular mood in mind for this image, rather the purpose of the lighting was to enhance the dancer's musculature but without using the typical harsh directional light. However, I think the dancer's pose and facial expression does create a quite moody image. I will leave the intepretation of that mood to the viewer

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