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Archive 2011 · Lighting for glamour shots
  
 
Bones74
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Lighting for glamour shots


Hi

I am doing a glamour (lingerie) shoot for a clients website tomorrow, which will probably include full body, 3/4 and upper body shots. I've got a pretty basic studio lighting set up which is the Interfit 150 ex two light kit with one soft box and one shoot through umbrella. I also have a large circular 5 in 1 reflector to add in if required.

The way I want to light my subject is have front on lighting slightly to the side of me, with the soft box aimed high for upper body/head and the umbrella low for legs to give an even light from top to bottom. Would this be the best way to do it with the set up I have? I'm pretty inexperienced with studio lighting and dont want to mess this up so I'd appreciate any advice



Nov 15, 2011 at 02:53 PM
cgardner
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Lighting for glamour shots


Technically the challenge is recording a full tonal range. Let's say she is in black and white outfit. You want detail in both. To do that with a digital camera starting with a dark room you would want to:

1) place fill near camera flat lighting everything and raise is power until you see detail in the darkest parts of the black lingerie, then; 2) then place your key light off axis to create the desired 3D modeling and raise its power until the white accents on the outfit are just below clipping. If you want the 3D modeling to look "normal" you'll want the key light raised and hitting her at about a 45 downward angle the average angle of natural light.

There are no rules of course, but there are cause and effect for any strategy. So try that even fill strategy, then leaving everything else the same just move your fill off axis. What you will find is that instead of evenly lifting all the shadows the fill will lift the ones it hits, but where the fill gets shaded you wind up with dark unfilled voids. You'll see this easier by turning off the key light and looking at the scene with just the off center fill. Everywhere you see a shadow from the fill you'll find a darker, harsher, less flattering shadow in the overall lighting pattern with the key light on. Once you understand the cause and effect of fill placement do what best matches your goal for the look of the shot.

I have a tutorial which shows how the four basic ingredients for studio lighting interact to create the illusion of 3D in a 2D photo even frontal fill, frontal key light, accent lighting from behind to define overall shape, and background light to control foreground > background separation: http://photo.nova.org/FourLightExercise/

When you have less than four lights you need to find ways via the use of bouncing, reflectors, etc. to produce the same effects and modeling on the subject. For example you can create "kicker" accents by placing reflectors slighting behind the subject just out of camera range, using white foam core panels for a more diffuse glow and covering the other side with aluminum foil and using it when you want a more specular accents for a hard-edged look.

To get a rich, low-key look you'll need to control spill, which will not be easy to do with a shoot through umbrella bouncing light everywhere and lighting the space with spill fill like an overcast day. You may find it more effective to instead to make a foil "snoot" for your fill light and bounce it backwards to a cardboard box lined with white paper a DIY SB. But if shooting on a white background all that from the shoot through spill will work in a good way to evenly light everything. You just need to start with a goal for the desired look of the lighting and the emotional reaction you want to create: soft and dream like, hard edged and sexual, or something in between.



Nov 15, 2011 at 05:29 PM
Bones74
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Lighting for glamour shots


cgardner, Thanks a million for all that great info, much appreciated!


Nov 15, 2011 at 06:13 PM
BrianO
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Lighting for glamour shots


Bones74 wrote:
...The way I want to light my subject is have front on lighting slightly to the side of me, with the soft box aimed high for upper body/head and the umbrella low for legs to give an even light from top to bottom.


Getting even lighting using two different types of light for the same purpose (key light) is difficult and impractical.

Instead, use one light as the key light, and adjust the light-to-subject distance, height, and angle to get even lighting. Use the other light as a fill light to bring the shadow density into the range of contrast that you want for your "look."

To keep the light even from top to bottom, keep in mind the principle of "fall-off." The closer the light is to the subject, the more the effect of fall-off. More distance will reduce fall-off but increase the hardness of the shadow line, so you need to find the compromise that meets your needs.



Nov 15, 2011 at 06:42 PM
 

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Bones74
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Lighting for glamour shots


BrianO wrote:
Getting even lighting using two different types of light for the same purpose (key light) is difficult and impractical.

Instead, use one light as the key light, and adjust the light-to-subject distance, height, and angle to get even lighting. Use the other light as a fill light to bring the shadow density into the range of contrast that you want for your "look."

To keep the light even from top to bottom, keep in mind the principle of "fall-off." The closer the light is to the subject, the more the effect of fall-off. More distance will reduce fall-off but increase the hardness
...Show more


Thanks Brian, I'll keep that in mind. It might be tricky using one light as the keylight to light a full body shot though, because the softbox is only 60cm x 60cm, the umbrella isnt much larger at 80cm and I'm working in a very small space. Thats why I came up with the idea of the low/high key light option. I've been experimenting using myself as the subject tonight and it seems I've managed to balance the light pretty well.

Unfortunately I haven't even had a chance to chat to the Portuguese speaking client myself and my translator (Wife) hasn't been asking the questions I wanted her to. I'm flying a little blind and all I know is she wants lingerie and possibly topless shots for her web site.

Anyway, thanks for your input, much appreciated.



Nov 15, 2011 at 11:17 PM
BrianO
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Lighting for glamour shots


Bones74 wrote:
...It might be tricky using one light as the keylight to light a full body shot though, because the softbox is only 60cm x 60cm, the umbrella isnt much larger at 80cm and I'm working in a very small space.


60cm (23 inches) isn't an insurmountable problem given enough space, but if you're working in tight quarters then it could be a problem. In such a case I'd turn the light around and bounce it off a big white flat, either a portable one or a wall. If you can't do that, then you've got to become creative, and if using one light high and one light low works for you that's good news.

As for the Portuguese, you're on your own there; good luck!



Nov 16, 2011 at 02:26 AM
Bones74
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Lighting for glamour shots


BrianO wrote:
60cm (23 inches) isn't an insurmountable problem given enough space, but if you're working in tight quarters then it could be a problem. In such a case I'd turn the light around and bounce it off a big white flat, either a portable one or a wall. If you can't do that, then you've got to become creative, and if using one light high and one light low works for you that's good news.

As for the Portuguese, you're on your own there; good luck!.


If I wasnt so lazy I'd have learnt Portuguese long ago like the missus has been hassling me to do! My "studio" really isnt ideal, but right now its all I've got. I reckon the best I'll be able to do is make the images look adequate. I'll let you know how I get on. Thanks for your help



Nov 16, 2011 at 09:50 AM





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