Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Studio Lighting

Am I over-complicating my studio lighting? This question occurs to me when I see many contemporary portraits and fashion photographs. In the studio I normally use a three light setup with a lighting ratio on the face in the neighborhood of 3 or 4 to 1. So, I try to get my fill light to around 1/4 of the intensity of the keylight that defines the facial shadows.

I use this method to exaggerate the highlight and shadow effect on the subject. Just like a representational painting or drawing, the illusion of three dimensions on a print creates a sense of presence and realism. I feel that the illusion of space is often taken for granted in photography because of it relationship to the actual. It is possible for a print to look flat, after all, it is a flat object.

The example below utilizes a keylight on the side of the face closer to the camera (sometimes called broad lighting), a fill light on the other side of the face, and a subtle backlight that outlines the hair.

When going for more of a fashion or glamorous look, I often place the keylight high in front of the model and a fill low in front to add detail to the shadow areas. The result is often very flattering and is sometimes called clamshell or butterfly lighting. A third light outlines the hair from the back.

For a recent shoot I decided to limit myself to one studio flash and use no backdrop. Perhaps this minimalistic approach would be stylistically similar to some contemporary magazine shots. The model works under the name Cyrin Calypso. For more of her work, follow the link:

Cyrin Calypso Official Model Page 

Here are some of the one light results:

I feel that these were quite successful. For me, a diffused light with careful placement worked well to create some glamorous and dramatic images. Hope you enjoy them, too.

Instant Karma

1 comment: