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Old 03-23-2013   #1
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Default Need lighting suggestions for portrait lighting

My parents are coming for a visit and while here want me to do a portrait shoot so what I need is lighting suggestions and hopefully diagrams they are both in there seventies and I want a flattering light.
I have 2 200 watt mono lights 3 100 watt mono lights a 24x36 softbox shoot thru umbrellas, reflective umbrellas, and 2 brolly boxes.

I want to shoot for color portraits and I would also like to shoot for B/W.
I appreciate any help.
Thank you
Craig

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Old 03-23-2013   #2
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Default Re: Need lighting suggestions for portrait lighting

Portrait Lighting - Names for different portrait lighting set-ups in photography

Benji's Studio Lighting and Posing Tutorial

Benji - The Rules Of Good Portraiture in PDF Format for Printing

Peter Hurley! | It's all about the Jaw

How to Handle HANDS

Benji - PS Technique For Checking Exposure (Portraits)

Ed Shapiro - The fabulous fill light...an article

Ed Shapiro - Background Usages and Manaement

The Rule of Thirds: A Simple Way to Improve Your Images: Digital Photography Review
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Old 03-23-2013   #3
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Default Re: Need lighting suggestions for portrait lighting

Hi Craig! What a great opportunity to get some great portraits of your parents. Nowadays many of the older set shy away from cameras- the think they are too old or not pretty/handsome enough to be photographed- what a shame! I sometimes that oftentimes they tend to stiffen up in front of the camera so I usually make a few standard traditional images at first and the I try to involve them is some activity that the usually like to share together and then is when the great natural images emerge. The couple in the attached portrait love to read when they are having their tea after dinner. It could be anything that brings out their real character. You know your folks so get that imagination flowing!

I try to keep the lighting as simple as possible- This image of Molly and Abe is entitled “Tea for Two” and was made with window light a reflector and a portable background. If there is no NORTH window light to be had; a soft-box on one of your strobes will work well. (See image and diagram below.)

I hope this helps!

Ed
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File Type: jpg tea for two revised.jpg (42.9 KB, 132 views)
File Type: jpg img024.jpg (150.6 KB, 133 views)
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Old 03-23-2013   #4
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Default Re: Need lighting suggestions for portrait lighting

Ed, Which part of your text is the photo referring to in regards to feathering?
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Old 03-24-2013   #5
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Default Re: Need lighting suggestions for portrait lighting

Steve!

Sorry for the mistake[. That diagram is an old one from a past article. When one light or window light is used in a portrait setup the reflector has to be feathered so that it catches some light from the main source and is able to reflect some of that light back to fill the shadows. Some folks simply place the reflector where the think it should be and forget to make sure it is doing what it is intended to do. It is a very finite adjustment but once you have do it' it's easy yo repeat.

If you are using a soft box were the modeling lamp is dim, this can cause problems in placing you lights and reflectors precisely- it may be necessary to darken the room so that you can see exactly what you are doing. It is nearly impossible to do this with flash units without modeling lights .

In the image next to the diagram a north window was the main light source. The reflector was actually placed on the right side of the subjects (one would think of the left side as a logical choice). In that image, the window served as a profile light- a flash unit would be placed at 135 degrees to the camera/subject axis. The main thrust of the technique is that both the main light and the reflector need to be feathered and of course' when window light us used the reflector usage is critical as to feathering.

I think it's time for me to make some new diagrams and thanks for the heads up on this one!

Regards,

Ed
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Old 03-24-2013   #6
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Default Re: Need lighting suggestions for portrait lighting

Ed,

thanks for your postings, they're really helpful. The portrait shows a quality of light I really want to be able to produce.

Just to make sure I got your comment about feathering right: The main direction of the main light doesn't shine directly onto the subject but passes between the subjects and the camera onto the reflector. The subjects themselves are illuminated more by the fringe (the one further away from the camera) of the main light cone.

As to the feathering of the reflector, I'm still a little confused. Is it just turned to shine somewhere between the subjects and the main light until the amount of reflected light on the subjects look right to keep the shadows at the desired level of darkness?

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Old 03-24-2013   #7
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Default Re: Need lighting suggestions for portrait lighting

Thanks for the follow up, Ed. I echo Korman's follow up interpretations/questions.
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Old 03-24-2013   #8
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Default Re: Need lighting suggestions for portrait lighting

Here's another setup...simple four-light setup. Diagram and sample image:
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File Type: jpg PhotoDiagram.jpg (67.7 KB, 102 views)
File Type: jpg Lighting Setup.jpg (139.5 KB, 102 views)
File Type: jpg DSCF1208 after.jpg (162.6 KB, 102 views)
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Old 03-24-2013   #9
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Default Re: Need lighting suggestions for portrait lighting

Nicely done and thanks for the set-up info.
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Old 03-24-2013   #10
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Default Re: Need lighting suggestions for portrait lighting

Feathering is one of the oldest portrait lighting techniques in contemporary classic portraiture. It goes back to the time before the invention of the multitude of lighting modifiers that we use today. Most professional portraitists worked with plain ordinary parabolic reflectors, perhaps a sheet of spun glass diffusion material and a set of barn-doors. With theses simple tools they could and still can create beautiful flattering lightings. The light beams for theses reflectors usually had a hot spot, an area of greater intensity, at its center of their beams and a lesser degree of illumination at the edges of the beams. The basic technique is to rotate the lighting units toward the camera position thereby using the periphery of the beams rather than the hot spots. This will more evenly light the face, help create specular highlights and rendering good texture. The main light can also be feathered downward to avoid those annoying burned out highlights on the forehead. The use of barn-doors help narrow the beams more precisely to enable more control; over shading specific areas of the face and body and to prevent lens flare when accent lights are use at more than 90 degrees from the camera/subject axis.

When we use flat reflectors for fill in lighting rather that another flash unit we can utilize the hot spot to strike the flat reflector and return some of this “spare” light for fill. We feather the fill reflector to insure that this reflected light is indeed striking the shadowed areas of the face and if it sufficient enough to fill in adequately to produce the desired lighting ratio. If the reflector is too close or too highly polished (made of very shinny fabric or metal) it can overfill the shadows and cause flatness of lighting. If it is too weak or poorly directed, it can create dark muddy shadows and under-fill the shadows causing too much contrast and some degree of color shift in the underexposed areas.

I seldom use a meter for theses finite adjustments. I simply expose for good highlight detail and then bring in the fill reflector, feather it and “rock in” the best depth of shadow and just move the reflector in just a bit more and I get a nice balance and ratio.

In many setups I use the aforementioned method; I employ a meter to get me in the ballpark and then make a few “chimped” shots. I oftentimes find that a half a stop under or over exposure from that point will cause everything to fall into place as to the mood and key of the image that I am trying to arrive at. I simply maintain the output of the light and the distance of the light to the subject and the complete the shoot without fluctuating results. A piece of string can help maintain the distances- nothing to be embarrassed about. On feature films sets with hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars worth of gear are utilized in the hands of crews with super experienced grips, camera operators and directors of photography, you will still find people measuring distances with tape measures and lengths of string- lots of exposure meters and viewing devices are always on hand as well.

To demonstrate and teach feathering and other lighting patterns, I often gel the lights with colored filters just to show where various lights start and cut off or overlap- this is a great practicing tool. Another diagram and image is attached.

Try theses methods and let us know!

Regards, Ed







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File Type: jpg Exec Smaller --.jpg (55.6 KB, 94 views)
File Type: jpg Feathering.jpg (114.5 KB, 93 views)
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