Portrait Lighting Help

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by TheOldMaestro, Sep 30, 2007.

  1. TheOldMaestro

    TheOldMaestro TPF Noob!

    Sep 30, 2007
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    I'm doing a shoot for a series of portraits tonight for a photo class of mine. All 8 of my models will be wearing the same black, long sleeve shirt and sitting in front of the same background. The background consists of an off-white wall with a tall, bright flourescent light attached to it. This gives off a nice, bright glow. My model will be sitting about a 2 feet to the left of the light. I DO NOT want a shadow cast on their faces, though. However, i would like to see all the detail of their facial features/expressions and also a nice contrast with the black shirt they're wearing.

    I was wondering if i should have the cieling lights on in the room as well? They dont really effect the background area, but brighten the area behind me and above where the tripod and camera are...What exposure differences would occur?

    So, main light on the wall alone? Light on the wall with dim cieling lights? Or any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


  2. Mike Jordan

    Mike Jordan TPF Noob!

    Jun 1, 2005
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    Hillsboro, Oregon

    If you have a light meter, meter the difference between your florescent light and your ceiling light. Meter at the spot your models will be with just the florescent lights on and then meter the same spot with just the ceiling lights on. If the reading is close or within 2 fstops, then the ceiling lights will affect your shot. They could produce secondary shadows under the nose and chin if they are bright enough.

    Also, with them wearing black cloths against an off white background, you are putting their skin tone (if the skin tone is white or near white) about the same tonal value as the background. This will create a high contrast condition so that the black cloths will probably stand out more than their faces. At least that is how it sounds from the lighting yo are going to use.


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