Bright Field Lighting

Figure 7.2 is an example of the bright-field approach to lighting glass. The background dictates how we must treat any glass subject. On a bright background, we have to keep the glass dark if it is to remain visible. If you have read Chapter 2 and the chapters following it, you have already guessed that the bright-field method requires eliminating all direct reflection from the edge of the glass surface. You also should be able to see why we need to begin this discussion by examining the family...

Key Triangle Too Narrow Main Light Too Far to Side

Figure 8.9 illustrates still another potential problem. We positioned the light so that the nose casts a dark shadow across her cheek. This shadow blocks the key triangle. Once more the cure is simple. To avoid a shadow such as this one, all we have to do is move the light a bit more to the front. When we do this, the key triangle will reappear. 8.8 The unsettling raccoon eyes that we see here come from lifting the main light too high above the model's face. Figure 8.9 illustrates still another...

Photographing Buildings Decreasing Tonal Variation

The same techniques apply to photographing the building in Figure 5.17 as to making a picture of a brick. Both cases need those visual clues that add the illusion of depth. However, special considerations apply to the building. The first is that we are likely to prefer a smaller light source for the architecture than for the brick. This does not suggest that architecture does not photograph beautifully on an overcast day. The opposite is true. Architectural photography almost always includes...

Doing the Impossible

The preceding examples tell us that even illumination and glare-free illumination can be mutually exclusive goals. The closer the light source is to the camera, the more directly it lights the subject and the more even the illumination becomes. However, the farther the light is to the side, the less likely it is to be within the family of angles that causes direct reflection. We have also seen that the usual solution to this dilemma requires more working space in any direction. Here is why...

Use a Still Larger Light

Figure 4.22 shows a light large enough to fill the family of angles causing direct reflection, plus a large range of angles that do not. The light coming from the family of angles causing direct reflection lights the black plastic well. The rest of the rays from this source strike the surface from angles that can only produce diffuse reflection and, therefore, light the label well. This solution is especially effective using a light, plus an independently supported diffusion sheet, rather than...

How Photographers Describe Light

Even if we confine our attention to the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, everyone knows that the effect of one group of photons may be radically different from that of another. Examining our album of mental images, we all see the difference between an autumn sunset, a welder's arc, and an early morning fog. Even in a standard office location, the decision to install fluorescent tubes, tungsten spots, or large skylights can have a major effect on the decor (as well as on the mood...

Reflector Cards as Fill Lights

One of the simplest and least expensive ways of brightening dark shadows is to use reflector cards to bounce light coming from the main light onto the face of the subject. Figure 8.17 8.16 Two fill light alternatives. Bouncing one light into an umbrella produces softer lighting. The small light, near the camera, produces hard shadows, but they fall mostly behind the subject, where the camera cannot see them. 8.16 Two fill light alternatives. Bouncing one light into an umbrella produces softer...

Dark Field Lighting

The dark-field method produces the opposite result, illustrated in Figure 7.5. Review the family of angles that produces direct reflection in Figure 7.3. We saw that in the previous arrangement there must be no light at the limits of the family of angles, L, if the edge of the glass is to remain dark. It makes sense to suppose, then, that the light must come from L if the edge of the glass is to be bright. Furthermore, if we do not want other bright distractions in the glass, then the glass...

Using Diffuse Reflection and Shadow to Reveal Texture

Diffuse Reflection Example

In any discussion of surface definition, we must talk about texture. This is why we promised at the beginning of this chapter that all examples would be nearly two dimensional. We will first look at a photograph that fails to reveal the texture of the subject. This will help us analyze the problem and come up with a better solution. 4.12 The solution to the impossible lighting requires placing the lights for even illumination and using polarizers to prevent glare. The axis of the light...

Capitalizing On Diffuse Reflection

Photographers are sometimes asked to photograph paintings, illustrations, or antique photographs. Such copy work is one simple example of a circumstance in which we usually want only diffuse, and not direct, reflection. Because this is the first concrete demonstration of lighting technique in this book, we will discuss it in great detail. The example shows how an experienced photographer thinks through any lighting arrangement. Beginners will be surprised at the amount of thinking involved in...

The Angle of Light

Easy Model Reflection Light

What sort of lighting might accomplish this To answer that question, let us begin by looking at a standard copy setup and at the family of angles that produces direct reflection. Figure 4.1 shows a standard copy camera arrangement. The camera is on a stand and is aimed at the original art on a copy board beneath it. Assume that the height of the camera is set so that the image of the original art exactly fills the image area. We have drawn the family of angles from which a light, or lights, can...

Absorption

Light that is absorbed by the subject is never again seen as visible light. The absorbed energy still exists, but it is emitted by the subject in an invisible form, usually heat Figure 2.14 . Like transmission, simple absorption cannot be photographed. It is visible only when we compare it to other light in the scene that is not absorbed. This is why highly light-absorbing subjects, such as black velvet or black fur, are among the most difficult things to photograph. Most subjects absorb part,...

What Kind Of Camera Do I Need

Asking What kind of camera do I need may seem silly to experienced photographers. But we have taught this material, we know how many perfectly intelligent students ask it, and we have to answer it. There are two good answers, and they contradict each other slightly. The weight we place on each answer matters more than the answers themselves. Successful photographs depend on the photographer more than the equipment. Inexperienced photographers work best with the camera with which they are...

Contrast

Rays From High Contrast Light Source

The third important characteristic of a photographic light is its contrast. A light source has high contrast if its rays all strike the subject from nearly the same angle. Light rays from a low-contrast source strike the subject from many different angles. Sunlight on a clear day is a common example of a high-contrast light source. Notice that the rays of sunlight in Figure 2.4 are parallel to one another. They all strike the subject at the same angle. The easiest way to recognize a...

What Is Light

A complete definition of the nature of light is complex. In fact, several Nobel Prizes have been awarded for various contributions to the working definition we use today. We will simplify our discussion by using a definition adequate for applied photography. If you are still curious after reading this, see any basic physics text. Light is a type of energy called electromagnetic radiation. Electromagnetic radiation travels through space in tiny bundles called photons. A photon is pure energy and...

Diffuse Reflection

Diffuse Reflection Photography

Diffuse reflections are the same brightness regardless of the angle from which we view them. This is because the light from the sources is reflected equally in all directions by the surface it strikes. Figure 3.1 shows a diffuse reflection. In it we see light falling on a small white card. Three people are pointing their cameras at it. If each of these individuals were to photograph the white card, each of their pictures would record the subject as the same brightness. On film, the image of the...

Breaking the Inverse Square

Did it alarm you to read that the camera that sees the direct reflection will record an image as bright as the light source How do we know how bright the direct reflection will be if we do not even know how far away the light source is We do not need to know how far away the source is. The brightness of the image of a direct reflection is the same regardless of the distance from the source. This principle seems to stand in flagrant defiance of the inverse square law, but an easy experiment will...

The Family Of Angles

Our previous diagrams have been concerned with only a single point on a reflective surface. In reality, however, each surface is 3.5 Two clues tell us this picture was made with a small light source hard shadows and the size of the reflection in the mirror. 3.5 Two clues tell us this picture was made with a small light source hard shadows and the size of the reflection in the mirror. 3.6 A larger light softens the shadow. More important, the reflection of the light now completely fills the...

Polarized Direct Reflection

Polarized Direct Reflection

A polarized direct reflection is so similar to an ordinary direct reflection that photographers often treat them as the same. However, these reflections offer photographers several specialized techniques and tools for dealing with them. Like the direct reflection, only one viewer in Figure 3.8 will see the reflection. Unlike the direct reflection, an image of the polarized reflection is always substantially dimmer than a photograph of the light source itself. A perfectly polarized direct...

Direct and Diffuse Transmission

Diffusion Translucent Lighting

So far we have talked about direct transmission, in which light passes through a material in a predictable path. Materials such as white glass and thin paper scatter the light rays in many random, unpredictable directions as they pass through. This is called diffuse transmission Figure 2.13 . Materials that produce diffuse transmission are called translucent to distinguish them from transparent materials, such as clear glass, which do not significantly diffuse the light. Diffuse transmission is...

Fil Hunter Steve Biver Paul Fuqua

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