Posts

Feathering the light

One of the most powerful things you can do with light is actually something that is often not used by most photographers.
Every light source has a similar behavior (some more some less), the middle is pretty harsh and bright and the more you go to the edges the softer but also dimmer the light gets. With some light sources this is less obvious and with some it’s very obvious but the following trick works for all.

 

When we “normally” light a model we are used to aim the light source directly at the model, meaning the model is in the hotspot, however this also means that the light falls off near the model in all directions. In other words the model is in a sort of “bubble” of light. Normally this is not really a problem, but if you place your model next to a wall and you want less light on the wall this is often not so perfect. This is where feathering comes into play.

 

If you feather your light you actually aim your light away from the model and in essence you light the model with the sides of the light, meaning less power but also in almost all cases a nicer light quality (softer).

 

In this example you can see the effect with our model Sanne and a LedGo led panel we normally use for video.
The wall is highly reflective and when you light your model in the hotspot the image will not be pretty (to say the least), by feathering you can create some very nice vignetting on the wall, get some nice light on the model and the end result is much more pleasing. Of course you can still walk around the model for less or more contrast as you can see in the examples.

 

Sanne October 16 2015 0023

the setupSanne October 16 2015 0054

Sanne October 16 2015 0070

Sanne October 16 2015 0084

Sanne October 16 2015 0097

 

 

Sweden Pt IV : some night shots

One of the things I like to do (if we are not to tired of course) is take some images during sunsets or just when the light starts to fade. I love the high contrasts of the lower sun and of course the colors of the sky with a sunset. But I also have to admit I’m pretty lazy with this, for street and locations I’m willing to travel but somehow the night shots I always try to take where we are….. maybe because we are always early risers 😀

 

Anyway, here are some of the shots we took in Sweden.

zweden  (7 of 57) June 23 2015_DxO

zweden  (18 of 57) June 23 2015_DxO

Zweden  (476 of 496) June 26 2015_DxO

Zweden  (483 of 496) June 26 2015_DxO

Zweden avond  (26 of 29) June 26 2015_DxO

 

Finding angles… maximizing the scene

During workshops I always teach the attendees to maximize the scene by using different angles.
In this example, which was shot during the workshop in Castle Dussen, I walked around the model to get different angles from the set, different lighting effects, and even used the lens flare from the sun coming through the window to create totally different looks from the same set within seconds.

 

It’s a very simple technique that can really benefit you in situations where you are pressed for time and need to deliver a lot of different looks to your clients. But of course you should not only do it in those situations but always try to maximize your scene, and seeing the fact that’s it’s very easy to do…… don’t forget to do it 😀

 

By moving around you are not only creating different lighting effects (I always call this contrast control) but you are also showing different angles from your set/location, so do be careful that what you include in the shot should be there, if you see some cables it’s better to remove them before you take the shot than later in Photoshop.

 

Here are my samples.
Model : Nadine
MUA : Christa

 

 

Read more

Move around your light

One of the best tips I can give people is “move around your light”
Every time I show this very simple technique during workshops there is always a group of students that is literally totally surprised by the effects you can create by just moving around your model. What you are actually doing is the same as moving around your light source, but when you combine it with a wall against which the model is posing you can get some stunning effects very fast.

 

In this setup I’m using one strobe aimed at my model.
In the first shot you see it shot from the front.

Nadine October 12 2014 0149-Edit

Read more