Lighting is a key factor in the creation of any photograph and successful photographers all need to be aware of the way they can use lighting to their advantage. Lighting is an incredibly powerful tool for a photographer so instead of using too little light and leaving the image underexposed, or doing the opposite and overexposing it, a photographer needs to use it as a paintbrush with which he/she will paint the image. It is important to be aware of the things you want to highlight and the things you want to leave in the shadows.
This balance of shadows and highlights helps create a 3 Dimensional look and gives structure and shows texture to an image, especially a live model. Without this the subject of the photograph may fall flat and lifeless.
Rembrandt or 3 quarter lighting is a technique used in studio portrait photography. It was named after the Dutch painter Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn who painted his portraits in a similarly lit way. Rembrandt is a lighting technique which makes photographs look both compelling and complex even though it is very easy to achieve this effect. The way to make sure you’re incorporating the Rembrandt technique correctly is to watch out for the upside down triangle of light on the model’s cheek. This triangle should be the only light on this side of the model’s face. In image number 3 of my photographs you can clearly see the triangle under my model’s left eye is the only light coming up on that side of her face, indicating the Rembrandt lighting technique has been performed successfully. The equipment necessary to successfully incorporate the Rembrandt technique are a camera, one light source and a reflector. The light source and the reflector are supposed to be placed on each side of the camera directed towards the model. The equipment I used for these photos also included a white backdrop and a tripod. The ISO was set at 400, Aperture f/16.0 and shutter speed was 1/250.
Side lighting is a technique of lighting the model or subject of the photograph in a way which highlights only one side of them, while leaving the other in darkness. This creates for an engaging and mysterious finished image which gives depth to the personality of the model or characteristics of the subject. Side lighting can be played around with until the photographer achieves the desired appearance of shadows. This means adjusting the angles and intensity of the light source can make a significant change in the look of the photograph.
The way I achieved this dramatic look of side lighting is by simply placing the light source on one side of the camera and directed it at the model, varying the angles until I achieved the desire effect. I’m especially happy with photo number 2 as it dramatically highlights the texture and colour of my model’s hair. It also leaves a nice line of light on the cheekbone of the side of her face which we exposed to the light source. Meanwhile the other side is left in complete darkness, making for an ominous feeling. I also find the intricate shadows cast on the backdrop behind the model create for an interesting story of the eternal inner struggle of light and darkness.
Beauty LightBeauty lighting is the trademark of beauty photography and it is most predominantly used in portrait photography. What photographers usually try to achieve with beauty lighting is a ‘shadowless’ look, but sometimes there are exceptions to this notion. The technique behind beauty lighting is simply placing the light source directly in front of the model. Reflectors can be used but they are not absolutely necessary for the images to come out well. The equipment used for my four examples of beauty lighting were a DSLR camera, a light source, a plain white backdrop and a tripod. In the first two photos I had successfully created the ‘shadowless’ look that I mentioned above as being the standard of portraiture. But in the third photograph which is a medium close up of my model I decided to play around with the shadows minimally, creating a shadow above her. In my vision this makes her look a bit scary because it makes her appear to stand taller and more dangerous with the help of the shadows above her, which elongate her. This was accomplished by directing the light source at the model from a slightly lower angle. A shadow which is not nearly as dramatic, but nevertheless still a shadow can be seen in the fourth photograph, as the light source had been angled slightly off centre.
This image set is based on a series of images I like a lot. It is inspired by the work of American photographer Neil Krug, a native of Lawrence, Kansas who’s worked with big names within the music industry, shooting everything from album artworks to booklet images and magazine spreads. I like Neil’s photography because it is a dreamy blend of colours and calming visuals. His most notable feature is the appearance of flowers all throughout his portfolio, even when shooting live models Neil will most likely include floral accents of some sort. The first two images I was inspired by are promotional photographs Krug shot for Lana Del Rey’s Ultraviolence album. The first image presents the model centred in the middle of the composition with her head turned slightly to the right of the frame. The second photograph I recreated belongs to the same photoshoot as the first, and it presents a close up of the model as she visibly grasps the camera in her own hands as if she’s taking a selfie. I recreated this in image number 4, in which I kept a similar composition and physical position to the original.
The next pair of images (5 and 6) are part of a different shoot Neil Krug has done, they are square shaped crops of two photographs which have a very shallow depth of field, they have a blended magnifying colour to them and are the result of strange light patterns and lens flares. I recreated these photographs at nighttime, using an iPhone 7 to take them. I had used the built in flash of my phone to achieve to replicate this strange throw of lighting which Neil is so famous for. Photograph number 8 has successfully mirrored Neil’s work with its flat, shallow depth of field look, although photograph number 7 has a larger than intended depth of field. I still chose to include it in this blog post as I think it has other characteristics relating it to Neil’s work such as the blurriness in the front layers of flowers and the matt finish of the background night sky blending in with the sharpness of the flowers. The light of the moon is seen peaking through the crown of the cherry tree I depicted and it clashes with the flash of my camera.
All of these photos were taken in one session. The location was exterior, a street in Kensington at nighttime, with street lamps being the only pre-existing illumination. The technique of recreating these images included mostly just paying attention to each individual composition and using that as a guiding step of what had to be done as the next step.
Frozen movement is a way of capturing photos with the purpose of capturing a split second moment of motion or movement. It is a popular technique of photographing fast, wild animals, sports events, car races, running liquids and anything else that moves fast. My examples of frozen movement photography include three of my classmates in the motion of jumping. While completing this task in the photography studio we made sure to be following the rules of health and safety as well as the previously made risk assessment which I also posted on this blog. The equipment used was a DSLR camera, a plain white backdrop, a tripod and a studio lighting set. The way to correctly freeze movement is to have a fast shutter speed. Because we were indoors in the studio we had to use a faster ISO speed as well as use the studio lighting. This is because sometimes it is hard to achieve fast shutter speeds in low-light conditions. As you can see the first image captured the movement of the jump but it is still a tiny bit blurry at the feet, this issue was overcome in the third picture in which the movement looks completely sharp.