Lighting is one of the keys to a good photograph. Spending a little time understanding your lights and what they do can save you so much time in processing your final image. I learned whilst working with film as my medium and the final processing was done in the dark room, airbrushing was way to expensive and poring over a print with a paintbrush and ink very time consuming. I feel this has been an advantage as I didn’t do any skin smoothing on this image and in fact only had to remove one large pimple with the healing brush in CS4; in general I try to avoid skin smoothing particularly as I am still practicing that skill but luckily good make up and a good lighting design generally means I don’t need to spend the time.
Maybe I should charge extra for skin smoothing? …. Anyway here is the image up for discussion today.
As the title suggests this is the basic light set up with a third light added. Three lights are all I own as well as the free natural light and so you won’t see me using more than 3 lights.
The key light is my Sunlite 40 with a Supersoft 600 diffuser which is my favourite light for Beauty and portraiture. This is positioned 5 ft from model, approximately 15 degrees above and 45 degrees stage left. I have chosen this distance to soften the light (See explanation by clicking here ), and reduce the spill onto the backdrop. I want to shoot at 125th of a second, old and senile and much shakier than I used to be, and I want an Aperture of F11, need medium depth of field. This means setting the lights at 3, not full blast ahead.
Fill Light is my 15″ (38cm) Soft-Lite Reflector (79 degree) and is positioned at a distance of 4ft from model, 15 degrees below and 45 degrees stage right. Wanting a balance to shadow at around a half stop distance the setting for the lights was 2. I have heard several younger photographers than I saying that they never use a light meter and that the histogram tells the story, maybe it does but I don’t know how to tell yet so I still have my trusty light meter and will take readings from highlights, mid tones and shadows.
The third light is a 4″ (10cm) Snoot Cone (15°) focused on the back of the model’s head at a distance of 5 feet, 15 degrees above and 45 degrees behind stage right. This conforms with the rule that says you should put your hair light on the opposite side to your key. I was also always told don’t be afraid to buck convention. This light was set at 2 also to just give a little separation between the backdrop and subject. So that‘s the light set up now on to processing.
Raw editor for contrast 40, vibrancy 25 and clarity 40. Into photoshop, saturation layer and with pipette selected lips to 8 on saturation. , sharpened using unsharp mask, cropped, framed and copy righted.Oh and I must not forget the pimple stage left jaw but NO skin smoothing