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People CritiqueGUESS THE LIGHTING- CHALLENGE #1

Images containing people; portraits, family, lifestyle, street, photojournalism, sports, weddings
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Re: GUESS THE LIGHTING- CHALLENGE #1

Post by Bobby Deal »

Ed Shapiro wrote:Bobby! Could the secret word be........"feathered" OK- That's part of it, but there is more! Even more basic!



Yes and would the next secret word be "Directional?"

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Post by pop511 »

Little girl in big hat pic is way too small to see details, But I'll have a go.
Main light is directed into subjects face from the direction it is facing. As in the man with the hat, if not then face would be in shadow and loss of detail.
ed davis

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Post by Wind »

The light appears to me to be just above eye level at an angle just slight off centre and the light close. The 1st image makes me think the light is close with the large catch lights. The man with the hat has a well lit face beneath the brim. Best I can do but each time I look I see some more detail.

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Post by Ed Shapiro »

WOW! Y’all are good astute observers but no cigar yet! On Sunday, I will have the big reveal ready so there is only one more day or so to get the right answer! I will explain the lighting commonalities, but there is gonna be a real humdinger of a tutorial attached. I think you all will all enjoy it and if we are lucky; it may convert a few non-portrait folks to the craft.

Stay tuned! Ed :thumbup:

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Post by Ed Shapiro »

Here is a preface and part 1 of the answer:

Before I explain about the commonality or “least common denominator” between all of these portrait examples, I should explain certain concepts about lighting issues, teaching lighting, nomenclature, lighting diagrams, lighting patterns (the way light and shadow strikes the face of a subject) and giving and taking lighting instructions.

Lighting diagrams and instructions are always helpful in creating the best lightings for any number of given subjects in that they illustrate and explain starting points for arriving at the best and most effective lighting for any particular subject or subjects. The operative words here are “starting points” because the best lighting can only be obtained by analyzing the subjects face, determining the mood that the photographer wishes to achieve and carefully observing the lighting on the subjects face by starting off at the approximate position of the lights and the moving the lights around, (especially the main light) until the desired effect is achieved. By matching the lighting effect according to the subjects facial structure the photographer can “sculpt” the face in such a way to create a good likeness and a flattering and artistic interpretation of the subject(s). Think of it this way: If you drive a car while looking down at a road map on your lap, you will run off the road and crash. If you study the road map ahead of time to get the general directions to your destination and keep your eyes on the road, drive ahead and steer accordingly, you will get to your destination safely. “steer” your lights while observing the face, not by calculating angles and distances.

Whenever we discuss off camera or directional lighting, certain terms pop up such as 45° Lighting, Rembrandt Lighting, Butterfly Lighting and more- much more! Many photographers equate 45° lighting with Rembrandt Lighting as if placing the light at exactly 45° to the camera subject axis will automatically produce this classic lighting with the indicative triangular highlight on the “shadow side” of the face. The facts, however, are that this particular lighting pattern can occur anywhere between 35° and 50° depending on the subject’s facial structure and the height of the light as well. Another issue is that this particular lighting pattern may be completely unflattering to or incompatible with the facial structure. Sometimes this particular lighting, with certain facial structures, will not illuminate both eyes and eye sockets evenly thus leaving the eye on the shadow side without brilliance and catch-lights. This is all the more reason to learn to observe the effect or affect of lighting patterns on the subject’s face when you are shooting.

Another consideration: All lightings must be assessed from the camera position which is especially easy to do with a DSLR camera as we are viewing the subject directly through the lens and there is no discrepancy as to exactly what the camera “sees” and what the photograph may see from a slightly off-axis viewpoint.
There is no such thing is a universal lighting pattern that works well, aesthetically speaking, with all facial structures- there is no “one lighting fits all” scenario. When beginning to delve into serious portraiture, however, it is a good first step to start off with a basic standard lighting that works well with a wide variety of facial structures and then can be elaborated upon for a wide variety of options and different effects. My recommendation for this starting point kinda lighting is called “Modified Butterfly Lighting” or “Loop Lighting” as some photographers call it because of t loop-shaped shadow that occurs from the nose and diagonally extends toward the upper lip but does not exceed the upper lip line. Unlike real Rembrandt Lighting the loop is not closed, however, a slight adjustment can easily produce the Rembrandt effect with a slight movement of the main light. Classic butterfly lighting can also be achieved with a slight lateral movement toward the camera/subject axis. More details to follow.

OK again- Without further ado, at least for now; THE LIGHTING IN EACH OF THE EXAMPLE PORTRAITS IN THIS THREAD ARE ALL EXACTLY THE SAME WITH JUST MINOR VARIATIONS OF THE MAIN LIGHT POSITION. Every one of them is done with Modified Butterfly Lighting! Each of them have the nose shadow as explained above and the eyes are well illuminated with catch-lights in the 11 o’clock or 1 o’clock position- theses are the landmarks of this lighting when it is correctly executed. This lighting occurs when the main light is anywhere between 25° and 38° to the subject. In a full face portrait we use the camera/subject axis as 0° but when we are making 2/3 and profile portraits we must shift the axis to an imaginary line using the center of the subject’s face as the 0° indicator. This may sound rather complex but in actual practice it is easy. When you are making a 2/3 or profile portrait simply pose and position the subjects and stand directly in for of them and create the lighting as if you were making a full face image. When you get back to the camera position you will be able to verify the correct and most effective lighting for the pose and camera angle you have opted for and make any finite adjustments to perfect the lighting. This may seem like a lot of walking back and forth doing countless minute lighting adjustments but once you get in some practice, things will go very fast in that you will begin to position your lights almost autonomically.
Of course, this basic technique applies to all lighting forms such as the use of kickers, from fill lighting, hair and background lights and all kinds of combinations and light sources.

I am going to continue the tutorial part, to further explain each of the images in more detail, on the following number of posts- STAND BY!

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Post by Ed Shapiro »

Firstly- let's delve a bit more into the difference between "butterfly" lighting and MODIFIED butterfly lighting. In the casual portrait we see a classic butterfly lighting, so named because of the kinda butterfly shaped shadow just under the nose. In the formal graduation portrait, we see the "loop" lighting. so named because of the loop-shaped shadow projected diagonally away from the nose. This is the modified butterfly lighting that was used in all of the sample images. Both images ar 2/3 views of the subject's face. Again- remember- this is not the only lighting form or subject position that I am recommending here- it is meant as a good standard starting point and a good way of defining and illustrating the answer to this challenge.

Continued in the next post.
Attachments
backup 5 708.jpg
backup 5 708.jpg (28.34 KiB) Viewed 1751 times
DIAGRAM SARAH BUTTERFLY.jpg
DIAGRAM SARAH GRAD.jpg

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Post by Ed Shapiro »

In this image, the same modified butterfly lighting was applied as the basic main light. There are others lights in play, but the basic key light is the same as the other portraits. In all cases, the main light source was a mono-light with a 30-inch soft-box. Here the light was placed at approximately 35 degrees from the camera/subject axis. The light was elevated until the shadow beside the nose appeared and the catchlights in the eyes appeared in the correct position. No angle or height measurements were calculated; the lighting was observed on the face. Note: Vertical movements of the lights make slower and more subtle changes in the lighting pattern- lateral movements make faster and more abrupt changes. You will notice this as you work.
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DIAGRAM FULL FACE.jpg
DIAGRAM FULL FACE.jpg (36.29 KiB) Viewed 1751 times
Sophie Flower Girl.jpg

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Post by Ed Shapiro »

Please stand by- more in the works! :D

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Post by Ed Shapiro »

OK- Let's continue!

The profile image was made with the same methodology as originally explained. If you reference Duck's diagram, imagine the subject placed in the profile position. The lighting is asses from position (G)- the kicker position becomes the main light placement and the camera/subject axis is now line (G). When the camera is placed a ) degrees we get a nicely lighted profile portrait.

You may have noticed that the highlights seem more intense that in some of the other portraits. That is because the main light, when used from the kicker position, the angle of incidence is increased thereby it is visually stronger even if the power and distance are exactly the same as the other lights that are coming in at a lesser angle of incidence. When a soft-box is placed at a greater distance from the subject it begins to mimic the effect of a raw parabolic light or even a diffused Fresnel spot. As Bobby will tell you, there is not really anything that rivals a real Fresnel spot or an old fashioned parabolic hot light but it is good to know that you can obtain a wider spectrum of lighting effects with your existing equipment inventory if you fully understand the basic principles of photographic lighting.

In this portrait, the main light was lowered a bit to get under the brim of the hat so that the eyes are properly illuminated and there are no distracting shadows on the forehead. This is an example of a compromise solution to a lighting issue. The lighting pattern may be altered slightly in terms of shadows and catch-light positions but not enough to badly affect the all over effect.
The same variation in height was used in the 2/3 portrait of the little girl.

Question and comments will be appreciated and addressed!

Ed :thumbup:
Attachments
Little Girl in Big Hat.jpg
Little Girl in Big Hat.jpg (25.95 KiB) Viewed 1747 times
pm COWBOY.jpg
pm COWBOY.jpg (31.83 KiB) Viewed 1747 times
Lighting Diagram by DUCK for ED.jpg
Lighting Diagram by DUCK for ED.jpg (129.15 KiB) Viewed 1747 times
DIAGRAM PROFILE LIGHT.jpg
DIAGRAM PROFILE LIGHT.jpg (36.39 KiB) Viewed 1747 times

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Post by Duck »

Ed, when I first approached you about this project I really couldn't put any level of expectation on the result. There really is no way to judge how something will evolve once it is put into play. There is also no way for someone with very little portrait experience like myself to comprehend to what level a challenge like this can reach. Needless to say, I am not disappointed, not in this challenge, not in the way you stepped up to the challenge of leading this exercise and definitely not in your delivery of a lesson that far surpasses anyone's expectations.

I don't consider myself a novice but I know I have a lot to learn. I have my passion in what I do and I can do it well enough. Enough to get paid at least :) . But I also know my limitations. Personally, I don't have a desire to become a portrait photographer but, as in any field, having a well rounded education can only be of benefit. As an instructor, that is another story. I am being pulled into expanding my knowledge because my students are seeking that knowledge themselves. So that is a motivator for me. So what does this have to do with these challenges?

I look forward to any event where I can expand my knowledge. Specially something that is interactive as opposed to the sedentary action of learning from YouTube videos. I know I can't be the only one that feels this way. That is why these forums are so popular with so many photographers, many of them beginners, because of the invaluable feedback one can get for their efforts.

So here is my takeaway from this first (of hopefully many) challenge. Part of the learning process, no matter what you are learning, requires a certain level of standardized and carefully packaged steps in order to build a foundation for more subtle and finessed skills. Trigonometry would be a jumble of numbers and letters without a foundation in math basics. Carpentry would be a series of painful accidents and expensive failures without an basic understanding of tool use. "______" would be a failure without the basics of "_______". You get the picture. Part of that foundation is learning the vocabulary of the field of study. Knowing what things are properly called facilitates understanding. Imagine having a conversation where the major key words are replaced with such vocabulary as, "doohickie, thingamabob, whatchamacallit" or "that flashy thing." What a long conversation that would be.

Fortunately for me I have a basic knowledge of portrait lighting. When someone says "loop" lighting, I know what that means. I understand the fundamentals of how to create loop lighting. I may not have the technical skills to create it perfectly in a real world scenario but I can follow the conversation. Recognizing the type of lighting used in a photo is the bigger challenge and it's a game I play with myself when looking at portraits. This is "Rembrandt", this is "Butterfly" or "Clamshell" lighting, or whatever I can easily identify. But not all lighting scenarios are easy textbook setups. Specially when done by a master photographer that has acquired the finesse in handling portrait lighting like Ed.

Yes, I know what "loop" lighting is... when I can recognize it. But who knew there were derivatives of loop lighting? Or that it can have such vastly different looks in relation to the camera?

So I have now added a new term to my thesaurus, along with a new understanding of portrait lighting. Will I be able to recognize it again if I was asked? Probably not yet, but i am hoping that some day I will. For now, I thank you, Ed, for expanding my knowledge and I look forward to learning so much more.
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