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Old 01-30-2014   #61
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Default Re: THE TRUTH ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHIC LIGHTING- new!The Truth About Photographic Lighting

Hi Mario or should I say Hi Neighbor! My place in in the garden spot of Ottawa; HINTONBURG!

The great thing about reflector usage is that you can easily improvise good reflectors with such inexpensive materials as Foam-Cor, Cor-Plast, aluminum foil, and Styrofoam insulation material with reflective foil bonded to it. I have also used those foil car window heat protectors and silver bubble packing material. I do have some commercially manufactured ones for more efficient packing when I am going to a location.

Thanks for you comment! Ed
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Old 01-31-2014   #62
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The bad things about reflectors is that you need an assistant to really make them useful, yeah you can set them up on a stand but the wind.....etc.
Now having 2 assistants.......that'd be living.
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Old 01-31-2014   #63
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Hey Fran! I think there are laws in the U.S. and Canada prohibiting indentured servitude (slavery) , however; I do get cheap rates from my you assistants, a few of my students, whenever I have an outdoor shoot- it's kinda a free lesson in reflector usage. After the shoot I do feed them in a decent restaurant. One of them of eats like a hippopotamus and never gains weight- I "hate" him but he is a good assistant. You need to develop a bunch of groupies to teach and get them to help you out when you need them!

I think you have the strobe thing down pat as per your last image near the bridge!

Oh- Please throw one of you latest images into the portrait challenge and give the others a run for their money! (what money) I spent it all on that kid!

Kindest regards, Ed
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Old 01-31-2014   #64
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Originally Posted by aceto81 View Post
I read a few books about natural light, and how to use it, adjusting the light with reflectors, ....
But for me, I only really started to "see light", after I bought a speedlite and umbrella.
The sun is always there, and it shines (most of the time) as it is, so you can take the easy way, pose in a somewhat good position, and most of the time the output is acceptable.
But if you buy some kind of light (a simple manual speedlight is all you need), you are forced to think about the position of the light, the hardness, the power, highlight/shadow ratios, .....
After using 1 speedlight for a while, I took a great step forward with my natural light portraits also. I get a better grip on lighting situations, recognizing possible traps and how to avoid them...
As far as the trial-error/experimentation approach, you're absolutely right Ace. To learn lighting you need to get a light (or as I say a mitt) and get in the game.

BUT there's a tremendous amount you can learn about photographic lighting by going down to your local library and studying the works of Renaissance portratists like Leonardo Da Vinci (painted the Mona Lisa) and many paintings of the human form. His artwork studies life which is something portrait photographers would benefit from including their lighting techniques. Simiarly, the Dutch painter Rembrandt can teach you a lot about things like lighting, posture, posing, and recording the human form.
More recent works of the 20th Century artist Edward Hopper are excellent examples of portraiture too including how his subjects were portrayed in their environments.

When you look at these works, I suggest you try and reverse-engineer the illustrations and get a feel for where the window or lamp light was coming from, how they made use of shadow and highlights or catchlights in the eyes of their subjects and how they added or subtracted lighting to emphasize their subjects. Less is often more, simpler, in my view is better. I make most of my portraits with one light as a main and a reflector or to use available light and either a reflector or speedlight with a modifier for fill. Practice practice practice and when you're through, practice some more. Above all, enjoy the learning process and have fun.
Take it "light"
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Old 01-31-2014   #65
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Hey Fran! I think there are laws in the U.S. and Canada prohibiting indentured servitude (slavery) , however; I do get cheap rates from my you assistants, a few of my students, whenever I have an outdoor shoot- it's kinda a free lesson in reflector usage. After the shoot I do feed them in a decent restaurant. One of them of eats like a hippopotamus and never gains weight- I "hate" him but he is a good assistant. You need to develop a bunch of groupies to teach and get them to help you out when you need them!

I think you have the strobe thing down pat as per your last image near the bridge!

Oh- Please throw one of you latest images into the portrait challenge and give the others a run for their money! (what money) I spent it all on that kid!

Kindest regards, Ed
Will do
I'm working on one with some "impact"
I'm starting to think one and impact might be another mans boredom though
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Old 02-01-2014   #66
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...
BUT there's a tremendous amount you can learn about photographic lighting by going down to your local library and studying the works of Renaissance portratists like Leonardo Da Vinci (painted the Mona Lisa) and many paintings of the human form. His artwork studies life which is something portrait photographers would benefit from including their lighting techniques. Simiarly, the Dutch painter Rembrandt can teach you a lot about things like lighting, posture, posing, and recording the human form.
More recent works of the 20th Century artist Edward Hopper are excellent examples of portraiture too including how his subjects were portrayed in their environments.
...
Mark
Aha, that's why they name it Rembrandt lighting!
Just kidding, I totally agree with you, study, practice, study some more, practice some more, and repeat.
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Old 02-01-2014   #67
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Aha, that's why they name it Rembrandt lighting!
Just kidding, I totally agree with you, study, practice, study some more, practice some more, and repeat.
Actually, you're exactly right. Rembrandt lighting IS Rembrandt lighting (or maybe it's "Rembrandt CATCH-lighting".
M.
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Old 02-01-2014   #68
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Actually, you're exactly right. Rembrandt lighting IS Rembrandt lighting (or maybe it's "Rembrandt CATCH-lighting".
M.
I always wondered what brand of studio lights he preferred and whether he more often used umbrellas or softboxes.
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Old 02-01-2014   #69
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Well- Burk and James, one of the largest manufactures and suppliers of professional photographic equipment back in the day; had a wooden camera especially designed for portrait photography called the REMBRANDT PORTRAIT CAMERA. It was made of fine cherry wood, beautifully constructed and had a very strong front standard that could support those heavy brass and glass lovely portrait lenses made by Taylor, Hobson & Cooke.
JUST A BIT OF TRIVIA!.

The first work I studied, on the advice of my early teachers and mentors, was indeed that of the Rembrandt and the other Dutch Masters like Vermeer. Theses artists had the talent that all photographer aspire to, that of SEEING LIGHT. The principles that can be learned by carefully studying theses masterpieces are; directionality of lighting, unity of lighting, the capturing of texture and skin tone, the element of color and tonal mass in the background of portraits to create the illusion of dimensionality. Much of this is directly applicable to fine low key photography. There is high level of group composition to be studies and mastered as well.

Many photographers have mistakenly isolated only one example of Rembrandt's use of light, the one with the typical triangular highlight on the shadow side of the face. If you examine much of Rembrandt's work you will find that many of the paintings, drawings and etchings illustrate other lightings that we nowadays call butterfly, modified butterfly, loop, Rembrandt, split, kicker and background lighting. Many also think that Rembrandt lighting in photography has to be in what we now term as short lighting, again; many of his work exhibits what we no call broad lighting Check it out!

I always enjoyed studying the work of the old masters rather than much of the work of other photographers; if for no other reason that if I emulated that authentic style of light usage nobody can accuse me of doing work that is too derivative of of this or that photographer. Also- nobody can sue me for plagiarism in that all of the really old stuff is in the public domain and all the originators are all dead! !

A little levity? Eh!
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Old 10-05-2014   #70
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Thanks Ed for your wise and valuable information!


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