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Lesson 5: Advanced Lighting´s archives ↓

Lesson 5: Page 11

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Lesson 5: Page 10



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Lesson 5: Page 9

I was teaching a portrait workshop and the photography center holding the event had arranged for the model to use for lighting demos. When I saw her my jaw  dropped but before you get any ideas, let me explain. As a portrait photographer, when you meet people throughout life and find beauty in them, no matter what they look like, you naturally want to photograph them. Whether they are a crusty old fisherman or a tattoo artists and you find beauty in them, you want to photograph them. That is was portrait artists do.


When I saw her arms and was told her body was covered in art I was excited. Under her t-shirt was a black tank top and after this demo shot taken for the students benefit, she removed the t-shirt and we created beautiful images like these below.

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Lesson 5: Page 8


This is a fun and interesting technique used throughout the portrait and fashion world and it is comprised of two key lights right next to each other. When you place a light next to your subject it has a natural amount of falloff, but sometimes it is not enough. Or maybe you wish to have more abrupt and creative falloff.

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Lesson 5: Page 7


This next photo, also taken on assignment, was for an Orthopedic Clinic and the concept was arthritis in the hands. The client brought in a chair and this model. I hung my grey painted canvas background behind.

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Lesson 5: Page 6


Low key is just the opposite of high key; the tones are all darker, made up of medium to dark grey values and some black. This light can be higher in contrast or also low in contrast using darker tones. Here is an example of a low key portrait that I shot for a non-profit book project on notable women in the Pacific NW which included writers, politicians, artists, dancers, etc.

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Lesson 5: Page 5

The Octa Dome

One of my favorite lighting approaches for soft beauty lighting is using the Octa Dome. This is a great light for large groups but also fabulous for beauty lighting when used as a frontal light source. This picture shows what it looks like and this example here is the 7’ version. That’s a huge light!

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Lesson 5: Page 4

Over and Under

Here are two approaches to glamour style lighting.  The portrait on left was shot using two light boxes; a large box right above camera and a small box right under camera at -1/2 stop. I also used a small light box on a boom above and slightly behind her head to create a very broad hair light. I also used a Nikon Soft 1 diffusion filter.  The right image was shot using a 72×72” Lightform ‘shoot through’ diffusion panel which created a huge soft light source. The panel was behind the camera which meant I stood in front of it with camera.

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Lesson 5: Page 3

To get the perspective as shown in the layout, a 250mm lens was required. I explained this to the client that even at f/22 set on my lens, I would not get all 5 people sharp with a 250mm lens. The second problem is each person’s individual height. The layout the client sent me, showed everyone at the same height and I knew all to well that these 5 people would be different heights. The client really wanted to have just one photo of all five because it is cheaper to work with one scan than 5 scans. I suggested, just to be safe, that we shoot a group photo of all 5, then each individually as a backup.

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Lesson 5: Page 2

Now here is the tricky part! Look at the hammer in this next image. Notice how bright the head of the hammer is? Now look at the shadow side of his face. Two very different brightness levels! How do you light a hammer so brightly and not have that light affect The shadow side of his face? Here is the trick: the hammer is shiny and reflective and we cover more of this in our upcoming product sessions. You light metal with reflections! What that means is what you show the metal, it ‘sees’ in the form of a reflection. Just like a mirror. So you are not really lighting the hammer, rather reflecting light into it.

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