“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light! -Aristotle”
I LOVE light! I love playing with light, I love playing with shadows the lights creates, and I love setting the right scene for a photo with the right type of light! So, what distinguishes a good photo from a great photo? LIGHTING!!!
Recently, I got to play with different lighting scenarios. I was in the studio with my photography bestie Christina Wert, owner of Alias Josie Photography, and we were doing a noir styled shoot! This was a dream come true!! I was looking to update my headshots to the Old Hollywood style because I find that they are gorgeous, classic, and so fun to look at; I really just wanted to have fun and feel glamours!!
Before we attempted to shoot, we studied a bunch of examples from late 1930’s- early 1940’s to garner an understanding how they achieved the perspective that makes it seem like the subject was jumping out of the picture! We realized that biggest factor that made these photos look so amazing was lighting, and the shadows created; the most important factor being how the lighting was angled on the subject to create the shadows.
This required tons of experimentation on our part. Simply due to not having the same forms of lighting like they did back then. We first tried to see if we could create the effect with just cool white LED lights, and natural lighting. The LEDs lit the background, however with the natural light it caused me to be completely in shadow…while it was an interesting effect it wasn’t what we were going for. We quickly gave up on that route and moved on to the next method! This was the dreaded (?) hot lamp came into use, some natural lighting from the windows, and LED lights directly lighting the background. This caused the photograph to look flat and 1 dimensional because the shadows weren’t harsh enough. It was abandoned after 1 shot! The third and final method was an unbalanced mix of natural lighting, the hot lamp, and the LED lights. What we would do is create a spot light effect, where the light of the hot lamp would be directly on me. From there we would take one or two of the LED lights, depending on what we were trying to do, and reflect the light outwards so it would slightly cast onto the background; the lighting from the LED’s wouldn’t be as direct thus creating the harsher shadows around me! At times we would purposefully cast some of the shadows onto me for some shots! This created enough of a differential between me and the background to give the illusion that I was more forward in the picture than I actually was!
I had a great lesson in lighting through our experimentation that day! I learned that no matter what form of lighting you are using, whether it is natural light, hot lamps, gels-to create colored lighting, LED lighting, or a combination of different types, know your lighting! Because lighting, be it good or bad, will make or break your photo!
P.S. Do any of you have any tips or tricks when it comes to lighting? Any favorite styles of lighting in picture? Let me know down in the comments! Don’t forget to like and subscribe to my blog! For more pictures checkout my Instagram and Facebook @persephonespinup!!