Be careful about contrast (the difference in brightness between lit and shadowed parts) at this point. Outdoors, in daylight, the sky always gives some illumination to shadows, but in an otherwise darkened studio direct light from a single lamp can leave very black shadows indeed. You may want to 'fill in' shadows with just enough illumination to record a little detail, using a large white card reflector as shown in Figure 27.8. This throws back very diffused light towards the subject and, since it does not produce a second set of clearly defined shadows, you still preserve that 'one light source', natural look.

Figure 27.8 Contrast control. A spotlight used alone (left) and with a large white card added (right). Shadows become paler, without additional shadows forming.

1 A great way to help educate your eye as to the way that both portraits and products are lit is to examine how the professionals do it. Select a few example images from product catalogues or the advertising section of the weekend newspapers and analyze how each of the photographs is taken. For clues of lighting set-ups, look for the direction and style of shadows falling from the main subjects, as well as the reflection of light sources in the eyes of the portrait sitters or off the surface of reflective subjects. Once you diagnose the schema used, try to recreate the look of the photograph using your own set-up.

2 Photograph two portraits of a willing friend or relative using two completely different lighting set-ups. Create one with harsh direct lighting that has strong, hard-edged shadows and then use soft, well-diffused light with shadows that are almost totally filled in (with a broad white reflector) for the other.

3 Find a collector of dolls, toy soldiers, unusual teapots, stamps or something similar in your local area. Offer to make a record of some of the pieces in their collection and then go on to use the opportunity to practice your lighting and still-life photography skills.

4 Make a photographic copy of a set of montaged prints created with one of the techniques in Part 9 of the book. Ensure that the montage is evenly lit and that the camera is positioned so that it is 'straight on' to the original. Use the resultant image to make a single flat print of the picture.

5 Shoot separately pieces of glassware, silverware and a highly textured object, changing the lighting set-ups to suit each subject as you go. Once you have mastered each of these typical schemas, try photographing a subject that contains two, or more, of these surface types in combination.

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