Donald Trump's Official Portrait and the Language of Lighting

Discussion in 'Articles of Interest' started by tirediron, Nov 5, 2017.

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  1. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Donald Trump's Official Portrait and the Language of Lighting

    it would be very interesting to know whether or not Mr. Trump directed the lighting, or whether it was the same photographer for both, OR whether two different photographers came up with the same concept and why such an execution. Regardless, I agree with the article's author, it's a horrible portrait.


     
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  2. Ysarex

    Ysarex Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Too bad Arnold Newman passed away.

    Joe
     
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  3. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I agree that they're not excellent portraits. The pinlights in both portraits are photoshopped in. The general lighting on his face is not right.
     
  4. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    One answer is simply that the flesh around Trump's eye orbit is low-hanging, and comes wayyyy down, to the eyelid itself...he has deep-set and "hidden" eyeballs/ Look at Pence's eye shape: the eye orbit's lower skin level is way up on the eyelid. Simply put, if you want to GET a main light's catchlight to show up on eyes like Trump has, then the main light has to be LOW. Period.

    I agree, the portraits are not great, but Trump has eyeballs that are NOT "right out there". The eye orbits low nature causes his eyes to be quite hidden from light striking from normative main light placements. He would be a VERY tricky subject for almost any "normal" key light placement!
     
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  5. JonA_CT

    JonA_CT TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Really interesting analysis, Derrel.

    It seems to me that he is chin is pointed down in both portraits. Couldn’t he lift his chin a bit to mitigate those effects?
     
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    A little bit of chin elevation would help, but his eyeballs themselves are hidden somewhat by his narrow upper and lower eyelids, and at the top, by that low-hanging eye orbit flesh. I think whoever shot the pics probably did not "direct" the sitter, but just snapped the photos. It's possible that very little time was allocated to making these shots.

    Still, regardless of chin lift or not, contrast how very MUCH of the full eyeball is visible on the congresswoman' portrait, as opposed to the amount of eyeball that Mr. Trump shows in both shots. In simple terms, she has large eyeballs, and a lot of surface area AND she has an eye orbit/eye structure that allows light to hit the eyeballs, even when the light's placed in a number of different placements. Trump's unique face structure/eye shape/size is a challenging one. yet still, the "official portraits" are not as appealing as the one Vice President Pence has, and not as appealing as the one the congresswoman has.
     
  7. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Something else I missed initially as I was concentrating on the lighting is that bit of picture frame in the background. WTF????

    For the sake of an interesting exercise: How would YOU light & pose Mr. Trump for an official portrait?
     
  8. JonA_CT

    JonA_CT TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I have no idea, but I'm guessing that the genre is specific enough to have some rules. Obama's is definitely lit better, but still not super interesting or anything.

    [​IMG]

    Just for the sake of comparison....PM Trudeau's official portrait. It's much more engaging...but it doesn't seem to require the patriotic background.

    [​IMG]

    Angela Merkel

    [​IMG]

    Emmanuel Macron

    [​IMG]

    This page might be the best...many Putins to choose from:

    Photo bank ∙ For the media ∙ President of Russia
     
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  9. Peeb

    Peeb Semi-automatic Mediocrity Generator Supporting Member

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    The hair, OTOH- immaculate.
     
  10. JustJazzie

    JustJazzie Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I suppose I would enlarge the light source?
    I'm envisioning two huge Foam boards... 6 feet + tall on either side of him, one Side lit with a flash and the second side just to reflect, just enough room in between for the camera view. Then I should end up with two vertical catch lights up the entire side of his eyes, vs the rounded ones from an umbrella or whatever.
     
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  11. Braineack

    Braineack Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    what if the photographer was purposefully trying to make it unflattering?

    /r/conspiracy
     
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  12. pixmedic

    pixmedic The Mustached Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    this is posted in the open forum, not in the subscribers section so please keep all comments related to photography and non political.
    thanks
     
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