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People CritiqueLow key Lighting

Images containing people; portraits, family, lifestyle, street, photojournalism, sports, weddings
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Cole
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Low key Lighting

Post by Cole »

An image from our last portrait session with onslow. Low key
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Post by TomCofer »

Interesting shot Nicole.
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Post by Ed Shapiro »

Hi Nicole!

You have made and interesting low key portrait study- nice mood!

I have a few points for you- technical stuff. I did an edit which I am holding for you- if you would like to see it, let me know.

The image seemed a bit dark on my screen (this could be the fault of this screen) . I found that as a result of the of the excess density that the skin tone went very red and much of the shadow detail was lost and the subject was beginning to blend into the background. In my edit I tried to increase the contrast and brightness slight- just enough to bring back some detail without loosing the mood of your image. I reduced the redness slightly while, again, trying to retain her rich skin tone.

I dodged the background very slightly. Some photographers prefer to keep their low key backgrounds jet black. I like to see just enough density and texture in the background to provide color and tonal mass. The advantage of this method is that it adds dimensionality (a mild 3-D effect) whereby it seem to the viewer that he or she can walk into the image and walk around the subject. Oftentimes, just the right degree of mass can result form just allowing a bit of the main light to spill on the background. Sometimes I use a very weak background light. With one-light portraiture (one light + a reflector), I like to start off with a medium key background with more contrast and texture and the under-light it- this works well.

Lighting: You have created a butterfly lighting. You would have gain stronger specular if you moved you main light to a slightly grater angle of incidence. You did, however, make a good compromise because if you moved the light to a grater angle you would have cause a shadow on her face from the hood. The hod would have had to be readjusted or the shot made with the subject facing in the opposite direction and the main light brought in for the others side as well. Again- it's a matter of compromise- I do lie the way the shape of the hood frames her face and the line it creates.

I hope this helps!

Ed :thumbup:

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Post by Onslow »

Nice image Nic. :) I'll address the lighting for those who weren't there.
This was a session from the portrait group I run. I had indicated to people we would try some lo-key work so could they dress in dark colours please so that people could see the result in their images of having people dressed for the lighting style. We had already run a hi-key session where some people had worn dark mismatched clothing. That was useful to show people the clash in the lighting style to clothing.

Anyway, we started with a blank studio and I had people doing hands on setting lights, modifiers and backgrounds up. As we were doing that, I was explaining the role and importance of each step.

We firstly started with a 4' x 8' sheet of plywood painted with chalkboard paint. The subject was standing next to this almost touching it.

Next, we setup a hairlight. Since we had a had already used a hairlight with a barn door to great effect we wanted similar results, however, it had to run on minimum power due to the height of the studio. I also wanted a bit more control on spill being right next to the background. So, I chose a 5' x 1' gridded strip box for the modifier. It was mounted on a boom and placed overhead. Some spill was allowed on the background from it. We did test images at each stage so that people could see exactly what the hair light alone contributed to the image.

We then used a gridded beauty dish on the main light. From using the light head on and looking at the background, I then put the light at 45 degrees camera right and asked them to notice the separation between the shoulders, the background and the shadow on the background. I can see this quite well on my monitor btw. The participant then had the choice of where they shot from, where the light would be etc...

One thing I haven't yet addressed to the participants is editing images and setting the white and black points correctly. I've found doing lo-key work this is an important step to really get the image setup correctly for further editing.

In regards to this particular image, I would suggest cropping some off the bottom of the image and possibly some from the left side to close in on Nula and give a more intimate look at her and her thoughts....

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Post by Onslow »

Ed Shapiro wrote:Hi Nicole!

You have made and interesting low key portrait study- nice mood!

I have a few points for you- technical stuff. I did an edit which I am holding for you- if you would like to see it, let me know.

The image seemed a bit dark on my screen (this could be the fault of this screen) . I found that as a result of the of the excess density that the skin tone went very red and much of the shadow detail was lost and the subject was beginning to blend into the background. In my edit I tried to increase the contrast and brightness slight- just enough to bring back some detail without loosing the mood of your image. I reduced the redness slightly while, again, trying to retain her rich skin tone.

I hope this helps!

Ed :thumbup:


Hmm, Ed, I don't see this on either of my screens. Whilst the image is dark, there is separation of the background, the hoodie, and the shadow on the background. I also see no excess red in the image. In the image posted, I think there is a good skin match between the image and Nulas acual skin tone...

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Post by Ed Shapiro »

Yes! It could be a screen calibration thing. In ant event, I think some of the issues I discussed were little tweaks rather than big problems. If I get permission to post the edit- tell me what your think. When I judge professional competitions, a great number of prints don't make the grade because of some fault in the printing or editing- not in the shooting. I good editing job can make quite a difference.

Thanks for your comments- Regards, Ed :thumbup:

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Post by Cole »

Feel free to edit this image. I am appreciating the good feedback.

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Post by Cole »

Yes I Would really like to see the edit Ed :)

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Post by Ed Shapiro »

Edit
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Post by Cole »

Hi Ed, I like the smaller crop I think it emphasises the mood of the image better. Definitely better lightened also. I can see what you mean by making it look 3d.

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