Main Light

Distance to Subject. I keep my main light about three feet from my subjects. Keeping your lights the same distance from your subject all the time is a good habit to develop. If you don't, you're going to have to constantly take exposure readings to prevent your exposure from being all over the place. This is a waste of time and takes your attention away from the subject.

Which Side of the Subject? On which side of the subject should the main light be placed? Think about this for a moment. You certainly don't want to start lighting from one side and then find that you have to move the main light to the other side when you switch from a full-face to a two-thirds view.

Don't fall into the bad habit of always having the main light on the same side of your subject. Where it is placed should be determined based on facial analysis, not habit!

Learn to plan in advance. You will always want to turn the subject's face toward the light, so decide what direction this is, then position the main light on that side before you even have your subject sit down.

Some photographers are in the very bad habit of always working with their main light on the same side. This, of course, means that you're breaking every guideline of using facial analysis to achieve the most effective portrait of each of your individual subjects. You definitely want to turn the face of your subjects toward the light—but you can't do that if your facial analysis tells you to turn the face in the opposite direction from where your main light is permanently placed! If you're there already, break the habit immediately; if you're just beginning, don't even think of always keeping the main light on the same side.

Full Face, Basic Pose. For a full-face portrait of a person in the basic pose, it's possible to bring the light in from either side—but if you're later going to change the face to a two-thirds view, you should place the light on the side toward which you'll be turning the face. By planning ahead you'll avoid having to move the light from one side to the other after you've begun the portrait sitting.

Don't fall into the bad habit of always having the main light on the same side of your subject. Where it is placed should be determined based on facial analysis, not habit!

I know of all kinds of light patterns, but I use only one: a "modified loop."

Full Face, Feminine Pose. For a full-face portrait of a person in the feminine pose, turn her body away from the light and then turn her face back to the light. Remember that you'll always be positioning the main light so that the shadowed side of the face is toward the lens.

Two-Thirds View or Profile. When turning a face to a two-thirds view or profile, place the light on the side toward which the face is turned. This enables you to light the front of the person's face instead of the side that's closest to the camera. Again, you want the shadowed side of the face toward the lens.

Consider the Nose. If your facial analysis has revealed that you need to make your subject's nose appear straighter, position the main light so that the shadow is against the straighter side of the nose. Bring the "problem area" into the light and show off the straighter side against the shadow.

The One and Only Lighting Pattern I Use. This is the most important section that you can read, learn, and master. If you stick to what I'm telling you here, you'll be able to use this information for the rest of your photographic career—yes, it's that important!

I know of all kinds of light patterns, but I use only one. It serves me well for all of my portraits. The name for this light pattern (if you need one) is called a "modified loop." Rather than looking for the loop, however, I'm more concerned with the light on the side of the nose. When that's correct, you can be pretty sure that you've got it right.

To create this pattern, I begin by looking for light in both of my subject's eyes. To create this, the main light is placed slightly above the subject's eye level and at about a 45-de-gree angle to the face. From that position, the light creates a shadow on the side of the nose. This runs from the bridge ofthe nose down to

the base of the nose where it produces a small loop-shaped shadow. This shadow should not extend down so low that it touches the lip line.

The most common problems with creating this lighting pattern (and their solutions) are as follows:

1. When the shadow goes beyond the base of the nose and begins crossing over the cheek, it's because the main light is too far to the side, or because you've turned the face too far away from the main light.

2. If the face is turned too directly into the main light, the lighting effect becomes flat; there are no shadows to create the impression of depth.

3. When you see light on the ear of the shadowed side of the face it's because the light is too close to the front of the face. Either move the light further to the side or turn the face away from the light until you achieve the lighting pattern that I've described above.

It all seems so simple—and it is! Once you've "seen the light" and can use it properly, you're on your way. There's nothing difficult about it. You just have to stick to it and accept nothing else. Turning the bride's body away from the main Emphasizing Detail. When you need to emphasize detail in a person's light emphasizes the texture of her gown. clothing, you will pick up more texture when the light crosses over the body.

For example, to bring out more detail in a wedding gown, you should turn the bride's body away from the main light source. This is exactly what you see in the feminine pose, which makes it ideal for bridal portraiture; it produces a graceful look while bringing out the texture in the gown.

When a person is in the basic pose with their body facing toward the main light, you can still bring out detail in the clothing if you carefully use an additional light source from the profile position (at a 45-degree angle behind the subject). This will emphasize the clothing and create great highlights on the face at the same time. The two lights should be of equal intensity.

0 0

Post a comment