THE TRUTH ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHIC LIGHTING- new!The Truth About Photographic Lighting An - Page 3
PhotoCamel: Your friendly photo community, with free discussion forums, digital photography reviews, photo sharing, galleries, downloads, blogs, photography contests, and prizes.
 

Go Back   PhotoCamel - Your Friendly Photography Forum > Tools Of the Trade > Lighting Technique

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 07-07-2012   #21
Photocamel Master
 
Ed Shapiro's Avatar
 
Location: Ottawa, Ontario Canada
Posts: 6,718
CamelKarma: 5188665
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: THE TRUTH ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHIC LIGHTING- new!The Truth About Photographic Lighting

SM! You have a good set of lights and sands- your lights are well made, they are a matched set and you have a decent selection of light modifiers to create good work- so your lights will not become a handicap or an encumbrance to your learning effective and dynamic lighting techniques. I am never particularly concerned with equipment because you can always add more items, acquire more sophisticated lights and/or more accessories as time and money become available to you.

What you can’t easily obtain is talent, practice, dedication and stick-to-itiveness. Seeing light (as well as composition and other artistic elements, entails talent but even if the talent is there, it needs to be developed and even people with minimal natural talent can learn good lighting perhaps in a more mechanical or nuts and bolts way but it can be learned. In one of his posts, Brooks says that is not all that complex, however, he is a long time pro with lots of experience and talent. I am sure if you were to watch him at work it would seem easy- but it ain’t.

Lighting is a science as well as an art- the art part is more fun and entails lees complex topics as the science end, however, there is certain body of theory that must be well learned in order to create the art. The theory is the means by which you can transfer what is in your mind’s eye onto a piece of photographic paper or a screen image exactly as you perceived it as to mood, texture, modeling (sculpting the face in a portrait) and bringing the motif of your image to the viewers’ eyes without distraction.

If you learn studio lighting well; you can apply your theory and know how to natural light as well. If you firstly learn to control natural light, you can simulate natural light in a studio scenario. In studio work you bring the lighting to the subject by moving your lights into place as to distance, height, lateral movements and other finite techniques. With natural lighting you need to find the existing light and bring the subject to the light. Control is gained by carefully placing the subject in the light and using reflectors, gobos and scrims to further fine tune the lighting.

Learning lighting is like learning musical performance. You can learn to play the piano, in a manner of speaking, by following a chart, placing you fingers on the keys and following the instructions. There are similar charts for playing the guitar- you place you fingers on the frets and pick at the strings. Theses are quick and dirty methods but do not amount to becoming a virtuoso musician. Music is properly learned by studying finite theory and practicing manual skills side by side. Learning fine photography in general is like learning to play the accordion. An accordion has a piano-like or button keyboard in the right hand side, 120 buttons in the left hand, tone switches like a pipe organ and bellows to squeeze. The player is responsible for melody, harmony, expression, rhythm, volume all at once. The photographer is responsible for mood, pose or placement, expression, composition, technical settings, focus, background management and a whole bunch of other elements. Without good theory training an inapt accordionist sounds like a mixture of bagpipes and an organ grinder and the inapt photographer produces ineffective images that have no artistry and tell no stories.

By now you must be thinking that I am writing one of my longwinded novels and in this time I could have furnished you with a dozen lighting diagrams. However, diagrams alone are like those “play overnight” piano lessons. Of course, when teaching, I furnish diagrams but those are just for very basic placement of lights and without all the other finite information it is like driving you car while looking at a road map on you lap rather than driving ahead and watching the road well in front of you- you are gonna crash!

Now- I wish there was a book I could recommend to help with this learning process and there are lots of “lighting” books out there but they are full of diagrams and photographs of set ups and even finished examples of photographs, however, I find most of them lacking in many of the details that I would like to see right up front. I had one book called the “The Dynamics of Light” by Peter Niccastro (Photographic Learning Systems of New Jersey) that really gets in to all the nitty-gritty in a very wonderful teaching manner. I no longer have a copy and sadly enough, Peter passed away long before his time and the company no longer exists. If you can find a copy on the net- you can consider it the “bible”.

Our own Benji (Ben Jones) has a great tutorial here on the Camel on the rules of good portrait photography. On the Internet, look up lessons by both Joseph Zeltsman and Monti Zucker – theses were grand masters! I MAY ATTEMPT TO CONTINUE THIS THREAD WITH SOME BASIC ELEMENTS SUCH AS:
Reflectance, angle of incidence, feathering, diffusion, background management, selective focus, subtractive lighting, lighting ratios, contrast, light modifiers and instrumentation.

There are many kinds of lighting equipment just as there are many musical instruments, each with their own color, sound, pitch and range. So it is with lighting instruments, reflectors and modifiers. Not all umbrellas are created equal nor are soft boxes or even parabolic reflectors. We hear the words “BEAUTY LIGHTS, PARABOLICS, SCRIMS, OPTICAL AND FRESNAL SPOTS, BARNDOORS, SNOOTS, AND GOBOS. Each of those things have a finite technique behind them and mastering theses techniques allows the photographer to “orchestrate” a lighting setup for each subject or situation very much the way a composer, arranger and a conductor designs musical presentations and interpretations.

I am going to try to post here a bit more about some of theses issues and options so that may be of some assistance.

I hope this helps.

Ed
__________________
Ed Shapiro - Master Photographer
Ottawa, Canada
Ed Shapiro is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2012   #22
Vicuna
 
SMason's Avatar
 
Location: SoCal
Posts: 220
CamelKarma: 1456030
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: THE TRUTH ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHIC LIGHTING- new!The Truth About Photographic Lighting

Thanks I'll see if I can find a copy of the book, and I'll search for the other lessons. I appreciate any help I can get!
SMason is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2012   #23
Dromedary
 
grsphoto's Avatar
 
Posts: 1,035
CamelKarma: 4385
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: THE TRUTH ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHIC LIGHTING- new!The Truth About Photographic Lighting

The problem with "book Learning" in photography is that we (photographers) are visual people. We can learn a lot by trial and error, but I think the quickest and best way to learn is to be shown by a master.

As an example, Ed talks about the light sculpting the face....What does that mean? You can see examples of this done properly but until you actually have someone show you what to look for and how to make the small adjustments needed, you are just shooting in the dark.

Glenn
grsphoto is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2012   #24
Photocamel Master
 
Ed Shapiro's Avatar
 
Location: Ottawa, Ontario Canada
Posts: 6,718
CamelKarma: 5188665
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: THE TRUTH ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHIC LIGHTING- new!The Truth About Photographic Lighting

Of course hands on face to face instruction is best! The problem is that is not always available. Reading and studying is still part of the learning process and after you have absorbed some book-learned information when you get to practice things will gel and make more sense.

Trial and error is one way to go bit there are so many things to be mastered that one can become frustrated. It's better to have a good grounding in theory and meet each challenge as it arises. There will always be trial and error and experimentation but if you have some sold methodologies to fall back on things will go faster and easier.

Ed
__________________
Ed Shapiro - Master Photographer
Ottawa, Canada

Last edited by Ed Shapiro; 08-02-2012 at 03:17 PM.. Reason: sp
Ed Shapiro is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2012   #25
Vicuna
 
SMason's Avatar
 
Location: SoCal
Posts: 220
CamelKarma: 1456030
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: THE TRUTH ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHIC LIGHTING- new!The Truth About Photographic Lighting

There doesn't seem to be any copies of the book for sale. Are there any other titles that I should be looking for?
SMason is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2012   #26
Photocamel Master
 
Ed Shapiro's Avatar
 
Location: Ottawa, Ontario Canada
Posts: 6,718
CamelKarma: 5188665
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: THE TRUTH ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHIC LIGHTING- new!The Truth About Photographic Lighting

I will check out my own "library" and teaching files and see if I can remember anything. Don't get me wrong, there are many good books on portraiture, commercial work and lighting but I feel that few of them get into the vital theory that I consider very important in lighting technology.

All the books have lighting diagrams and good images but lack some of the technicalities. Some if the images have all those technicalities well under control but northing is explained as to how to achieve those results in a finite manner.

I'll be back!

Ed
__________________
Ed Shapiro - Master Photographer
Ottawa, Canada
Ed Shapiro is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2012   #27
Vicuna
 
SMason's Avatar
 
Location: SoCal
Posts: 220
CamelKarma: 1456030
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: THE TRUTH ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHIC LIGHTING- new!The Truth About Photographic Lighting

Thanks again, I appreciate your effort. I want to understand what I'm doing not just put this light here and that one there.
SMason is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-02-2012   #28
Alpaca
 
Location: Edison, NJ
Posts: 11
CamelKarma: 10
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: THE TRUTH ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHIC LIGHTING- new!The Truth About Photographic Lighting

I just want to say thank you Ed for this concise and illumnating post and your willingness to share your wisdom. Kudos to you
krikitman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-02-2012   #29
Photocamel Master
 
Ed Shapiro's Avatar
 
Location: Ottawa, Ontario Canada
Posts: 6,718
CamelKarma: 5188665
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: THE TRUTH ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHIC LIGHTING- new!The Truth About Photographic Lighting

K-man and others- Thank you for all of you kind remarks! They are sincerely appreciated and encouraging! Ed
__________________
Ed Shapiro - Master Photographer
Ottawa, Canada
Ed Shapiro is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2012   #30
Alpaca
 
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 3
CamelKarma: 14
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: THE TRUTH ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHIC LIGHTING- new!The Truth About Photographic Lighting

I love this article, Ed. Very informative. It reminded me of a video I watched on Youtube a while back about using an egg to understand how light and shadow worked.

Here's the link which I bookmarked:


Manuel


__________________
Members don't see ads in threads. Register for your free account today and become a member of PhotoCamel to open up the site's many benefits and features.
mmaniquis is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

« PhotoCamel - Your Friendly Photography Forum > Tools Of the Trade > Lighting Technique »


Share this topic:

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Who are your photographic mentors or photographic role models? STPSHoncho Photography Talk 55 03-21-2013 11:17 PM
Truth..we need it. littlegal OT: Off-topic 26 04-06-2011 07:09 AM