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Building Light, step by step.

Posted by Merco_61, 04 January 2022 · 1,155 views

In 2010 I shot for 35 weeks in a row, a new theme each week and seven shots per theme for a coffetable book for prospective clients. I have translated week 7 to English and hope to be of interest.

Week 7: Building Light, step by step.
This week, I had a little helper. The little koala sits where he is put, unlike a live model and is often pressed into service as a stand-in while I adjust things and think about the lighting. When I plan lighting, I always start from the model's viewpoint, as people usually think they know what side they want the focus on. It is easier give directions if I am already in the right headspace.

Built-in pop-up flash
I just fired the pop-up head-on. Note the harsh drop shadow on the background
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Strobe, stage left
Here, the strobe is on a stand to the right of the camera, fired through a translucent umbrella. As the purpose of this and the next is to find the right side for the main light, I didn't care about precise exposure or white balance.
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Strobe, stage right
The strobe is to the left of the camera here, with the same umbrella. This placement accentuates the better half of the face in this case.
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Blixt stage right, 1/2 CTO
In this photo, I have set the white balance manually and then put a 1/2 CTO gel on the strobe. There is still a harsh shadow stage left and the background is slightly underexposed.
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Strobe, stage right, 1/2 CTO filter, silver reflector
Instead of adding another strobe, I have used a silver reflector stage left. The WB is slightly warm, but not enough to cut to a 1/4 CTO. There is still not enough separation between the model's hair(fur) and the background.
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Strobe, stage right, 1/2 CTO, silver reflector and hairlight.
In this final stage, I have added a speedlight behind the model that lights the hair and most importantly, the left ear. This adds definition to the outline. The white balance is carefully corrected in post.
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Evil Koala
Finally an example of what lighting can do to the feel of a scene and cheat with a background. The scene is unchanged, but this evil koala is lit from below. the background is unchanged, but lit with a Rosco Henna Sky deep red filter.
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