Friday, 11 February 2011

PnP1: Ex 3: Thinking about lighting (ii) - some more ideas

The first part featured indoor lighting so though I’d step outside for this second part using the sand dune location I found in Exercise 2.

First off direct sunlight:

Self portrait - low sun and skylight

This was taken with low morning sun which provides very hard shadows, and has caused me to squint a little. There may well be craggy, character-filled faces that work well in this light – particularly in monochrome – but I don’t think I’m one of them.

Next I moved into relatively deep shade behind one of the dunes, so that I was only lit by light from the blue sky. After correcting the colour balance this was the result:

Self portrait - skylight only

The lighting is much softer and the hard shadows are gone. However the overall effect is a bit flat, with the bright background being a bit too dominant. This leads to the third shot, which is the same as above, but with some fill flash from the on-camera flash. Colour balance was tricky here – if I took more of the red from the face the grass in the shadow began to look a bit unhealthy.

Self portrait - skylight and fill flash

There is also a bit of a problem from flash reflected in my glasses, but overall I think this is the most pleasing of the three shots.

One final outdoor shot – this one was intended as a bit of fun and has already been referenced in the previous part of this exercise – it’s a mix of moon and torchlight with a long exposure and some light trails for good measure. Am tempted to call this ‘Portrait of the Photographer as a Ghostless Head’.


And to finish a couple more examples of different lighting conditions that can be used for effective portraits depending on the effect required.

Naomi with the Alfa   Al fresco lunch at Fuerteventura Zoo   Stephen at the Beer Festival

The first was taken in totally flat, overcast lighting in the shade of the house, which helped manage the blacks, and saturated the colour of my daughters hair to good effect. the second is taken under dappled shade in an outdoor cafe in Fuerteventura – the lighting adds to the feeling of relaxation and overall ‘summeriness’. The final shot is one of my son’s friends in action with their band at the local beer festival – the mixed colours of the lighting add to the overall concert effect – which would have been ruined by the use of flash.

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