Lighting and movement

The lighting control you have in the studio can help with many of the experimental approaches to depicting movement, as discussed in Part 9. Figure movements during a long exposure, for example, can be turned into abstract patterns in accurately directed ways. For Figures 23.9 and 23.10, two dancers, in pale reflective clothing, posed some distance in

Figure 23.7 Soft diffused light.

Main light

Figure 23.8 Soft light with reflector.

front of a black background. The lighting was two spotlights - positioned left and right at right angles to the camera viewpoint, and screened off from both the background and lens. Within the 'slot' of light so formed, one dancer stood completely still while the other moved to the music throughout a five-second exposure. Including a static element, like the still dancer, in your picture gives a counterpoint to all the action going on elsewhere.

Figures 23.9 and 23.10 Double side-lighting and a long exposure produced each of these expressionist dance images.

Controlling the quality and direction of the light when capturing portrait photos is often the difference between producing an acceptable image and one that really stands out.

The same can be said about lighting control when we are photographing objects. In fact, in some ways, good product photography is even more dependent on the lighting abilities of the photographer as he or she needs to adjust the set-up to suit the surface qualities of the object. It is not enough just to position the light and modify its quality, the photographer also needs to alter the way that the product is lit to ensure that the surface or textural qualities of the object are accentuated. Sound tricky? Well it is only really an extension of the lighting skills we started to develop in the last section. Remember the key to producing well-lit photos is learning to see how light describes your subjects first and then being able to modify the description when

The five studio shots and lighting set-ups in Figures 24.1-24.5 show how mixed changes of lighting can alter subject appearance, especially texture. Figure 24.6 shows where the (single) light source was positioned for each version. In Figure 24.1 the spotlight was positioned at the rear of the stone slab, a little above lens height. Its direct light exaggerates texture but gives such contrast that the film both overexposes highlights and underexposes shadows. Figure 24.2 uses a reflector board close to the camera to return diffused light into the shadows. In Figure 24.3 the spotlight is now to one side, changing the direction of the (harsh) shadows. For Figure 24.4 the spotlight was turned away from the leaf altogether, and illuminates a large white card. The result is diffused ('soft') light, still directed from the side but now free of sharp-edged shadows and even less contrasty than Figure 24.2. In Figure 24.5 the spotlight is now positioned close to and directly above the camera, and used direct. Like flash on the camera, everything receives light but it is like a drawing without shading, suppressing texture and form.

Figures 23.9 and 23.10 Double side-lighting and a long exposure produced each of these expressionist dance images.

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