"Short" Lighting Portrait Attempt for C&C

Joined
Nov 26, 2010
Messages
670
Reaction score
21
Location
NJ
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Hello,

I tried another portrait with a monolight at camera right and a silver reflector camera left and fairly close to the subject. The monolight was about 1 foot above the subject's head as far as height.

This time I tried what Big Mike suggested in another thread and posed the subject so the key was lighting the side of the face away from the camera. I actually tried both broad and short and short definitely looks better. The monolight pointing down on the subject definitely changed the angles of the shadows from across the face to slightly angled downwards.

I did some very minor skin softening as well as blemish removal.

vo4r4g.jpg


Thanks for looking

Danny
 

Big Mike

I am Big, I am Mike
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2003
Messages
33,900
Reaction score
1,863
Location
Edmonton
Website
www.mikehodson.ca
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
That's better...and good for you for trying both. That's a great way to learn.

I would suggest that for this shot, you could move the key light even farther around to your right...not too far, just a little. It could probably go a little bit higher as well. Another little tip for a place to start, is to try to get the catch light reflections in their eyes, to be at either 10:00 or 2:00.

It's good that you had his head turned enough so that he far ear is not visible and it's good that you didn't turn it far enough for his eye to break the horizon of his face.

One of my photography instructors would always drill into us, that we needed to get our subjects to extend their chin/jaw forward. So many people have a natural reflect to suck back their chin when posing, but this is one of the worst things they can do as it gives them a weak looking chin and a fat neck. With this gentleman, I think there could be a big improvement if he just pushed his chin forward.

Also, the composition is unbalanced. I know this was just a lighting test, but you should practice all the aspects that you can. His right shoulder & arm are cut off by the frame but there is open space on the other side. You don't have to centre everything, but you usually want a sense of balance in a portrait.
 
OP
dandaluzphotography
Joined
Nov 26, 2010
Messages
670
Reaction score
21
Location
NJ
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Thanks for the feedback Mike. I appreciate you taking the time. So... I have a few questions:

"I would suggest that for this shot, you could move the key light even farther around to your right...not too far, just a little. It could probably go a little bit higher as well. Another little tip for a place to start, is to try to get the catch light reflections in their eyes, to be at either 10:00 or 2:00."


The light was at his 10 o'clock. Where would you say that the catch lights are in his eyes?

"One of my photography instructors would always drill into us, that we needed to get our subjects to extend their chin/jaw forward. So many people have a natural reflect to suck back their chin when posing, but this is one of the worst things they can do as it gives them a weak looking chin and a fat neck. With this gentleman, I think there could be a big improvement if he just pushed his chin forward.

Also, the composition is unbalanced. I know this was just a lighting test, but you should practice all the aspects that you can. His right shoulder & arm are cut off by the frame but there is open space on the other side. You don't have to centre everything, but you usually want a sense of balance in a portrait.
"

These adjustments will be made during tonight's test! I think I'm beginning to bug the crap out of my family, but oh well. :)

Also, a friend who is also beginning to work off camera flash mentioned that he thinks the right side of the subject's face is bit too dark and could have benefited from having the reflector at camera left angled so it lit that side of his face a little more. What do you think about that thought? I happen to like the balance between the left and right. Is there anything technically wrong with it?

Danny
 

Derrel

Mr. Rain Cloud
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
48,228
Reaction score
18,915
Location
USA
Website
www.pbase.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Big Mike said:
His right shoulder & arm are cut off by the frame but there is open space on the other side. You don't have to centre everything, but you usually want a sense of balance in a portrait.

In traditional formal portraiture, this pose is described as lacking "a complete base"; what would have made this much more appealing is to have eliminated the open space that runs from the very top to the very bottom of the right-hand side of the frame. That empty space is sometimes called a gutter...the eye just drops right out of the frame, like rain going down a downspout. The way to correct this would to have had his far shoulder brought around a few more degrees, thus filling the "base" of the portrait entirely with his torso. That would have also eliminated the neck wrinkles that are showing from his odd head twist angle. With his torso spread across the base of the portrait frame, the image could be cropped any number of different ways, to good effect;but unfortunately with that gutter in there, you can crop and crop and crop, and the image will never really feel "at rest". This line of thinking goes back several hundred years in painting, and more than 1,500 years in sculpture, where the "base" of a bust would be done with extreme care and thought, and then the neck and head would be perfectly balanced.
 

Big Mike

I am Big, I am Mike
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2003
Messages
33,900
Reaction score
1,863
Location
Edmonton
Website
www.mikehodson.ca
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
The light was at his 10 o'clock. Where would you say that the catch lights are in his eyes?
The highlights in his eyes look (from our perspective) to be at about 3:00...maybe 2:30. If the light was a little higher, the catch lights would move up to 2:00.

These adjustments will be made during tonight's test! I think I'm beginning to bug the crap out of my family, but oh well. :)
Derrel addressed this much better than I did.

Also, a friend who is also beginning to work off camera flash mentioned that he thinks the right side of the subject's face is bit too dark and could have benefited from having the reflector at camera left angled so it lit that side of his face a little more. What do you think about that thought? I happen to like the balance between the left and right. Is there anything technically wrong with it?
There are many aspects of portrait photography but two of the main ones are the lighting pattern and the lighting ratio. The pattern part is where the light falls and thus where the shadows are etc. The ratio is the difference between the lit part of the face and the shadow side of the face. This is where a flash meter really comes in handy, because you can use it to determine and set the precise ratio that you want.

Just as there are times and reasons why you would use one lighting pattern over another...there are times and reasons when you would want to use a specific ratio...or if not a specific ratio, either a low ratio or a high ratio.
THIS LINK has a good example of three different ratios on the same guy.

So does your photo have too much of a ratio? That's up to you...and it probably depends on what you are trying to accomplish with your photo.
 
OP
dandaluzphotography
Joined
Nov 26, 2010
Messages
670
Reaction score
21
Location
NJ
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Thank you, Guys. Good stuff.

Danny
 

Christie Photo

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Jan 7, 2005
Messages
7,199
Reaction score
147
Location
Kankakee, IL
Website
www.christiephoto.com
I know this was just a lighting test, but you should practice all the aspects that you can.

Yes! And so....

Don't forget about keying the clothing with the background. In this case, a darker background or a lighter shirt.

Mike pointed out the position of the catch lights. Another thing I look for is that upside-down triangle that occurs on the shadow side cheek. Can you see it?

I say you're very close! Nicely done!

-Pete
 
OP
dandaluzphotography
Joined
Nov 26, 2010
Messages
670
Reaction score
21
Location
NJ
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
I know this was just a lighting test, but you should practice all the aspects that you can.

Yes! And so....

Don't forget about keying the clothing with the background. In this case, a darker background or a lighter shirt.

Mike pointed out the position of the catch lights. Another thing I look for is that upside-down triangle that occurs on the shadow side cheek. Can you see it?

I say you're very close! Nicely done!

-Pete

Thanks Pete! I didn't see it initially. From what remember from what I've read, that triangle of light on the shadow side of the cheek is typical of Rembrandt lighting. I didn't see it until you pointed it out. :).

As far as keying the clothing with the background, do you mean having the subject wear a lighter colored shirt with a darker colored background and vice versa? I've taken pictures where the subject wore a white t-shirt against a white background and it didn't look right at all. No contrast whatsoever.

Danny
 

Christie Photo

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Jan 7, 2005
Messages
7,199
Reaction score
147
Location
Kankakee, IL
Website
www.christiephoto.com
As far as keying the clothing with the background, do you mean having the subject wear a lighter colored shirt with a darker colored background and vice versa?

No... just the opposite.

A good portrait will bring the viewer's eye to the subjects face. Low key portraits have a background and clothing of deep tones. High key portraits have white (or very light) tones. In either case, the subject stands out.

Of course, this is not a hard, fast "rule,"... just conventional thinking. Certainly, a good starting place.

-Pete
 

Big Mike

I am Big, I am Mike
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2003
Messages
33,900
Reaction score
1,863
Location
Edmonton
Website
www.mikehodson.ca
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Thanks Pete! I didn't see it initially. From what remember from what I've read, that triangle of light on the shadow side of the cheek is typical of Rembrandt lighting. I didn't see it until you pointed it out. :).
Rembrandt is one lighting patter but there are others that can be identified with the triangle....usually called the 'key triangle'. It's an inverted triangle of light on the subject face. You want the 'base' (at the top) to get high enough to get into the subject's eye. If the triangle doesn't reach the eye, you light is too high. If the triangle extends too far up past the eye or past the top of the head, then your light is too low. There are other thing that it can tell you, but I'll let you look that up.

Rembrandt lighting is when the key triangle is small enough to be fully closed on the subject's face. Or more specifically, it's when the shadow from the nose, reaches the shadow on the cheek, thus closing the bottom of the triangle.
 

Christie Photo

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Jan 7, 2005
Messages
7,199
Reaction score
147
Location
Kankakee, IL
Website
www.christiephoto.com
Rembrandt lighting is when the key triangle is small enough to be fully closed on the subject's face. Or more specifically, it's when the shadow from the nose, reaches the shadow on the cheek, thus closing the bottom of the triangle.

Hmmm... and I always thought it was more about ratio... a greater ratio than typical, say.... 5:1 rather than 3:1
 

Big Mike

I am Big, I am Mike
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2003
Messages
33,900
Reaction score
1,863
Location
Edmonton
Website
www.mikehodson.ca
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
I've never learned it that way...it was always about the closed triangle and the ratio didn't matter. But to clearly see the triangle, you often need a higher ratio, so there you go.

Also, Rembrandt lighting is a little more dramatic than 'plain old' loop lighting, so it would follow that you would use a more dramatic ratio.
 

Most reactions

New Topics

Top