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Lighting Styles - examples

Discussion in 'People' started by Joe Marques, Jun 6, 2005.

  1. I posted this as a reply in a different forum and thought it might make a useful reference here.

    Keep in mind I'm not a "traditionalist" when it comes to light - I do what looks right to me. So these aren't CLASSIC in any strict sense but they're close to the classic styles described.

    Here's BUTTERFLY LIGHT - signified but the butterfly shape of the shadow under her nose. Shot with 22" beauty dish and fill from the paper bg. Fairly low contrast since the shadows are minimal. Still not flat since her face has clear dimension:

    Here's SHORT LIGHT - (meaning the key is on the short side of the face where no ear is showing). Shot with 36"x48" soft box and fill from reflections in the room. The ratio is easily 4:1 or more here - very contrasty shot:

    Here is CLAM SHELL or GLAMOR LIGHT - shot with a 48" Octabox 18 inches away above and slightly off axis and a reflector 12 inches below her chin (the light and reflector make a "clam shell" shape). This is silky smooth light - great for women since it hides blemishes. :)  Notice while it's low contrast it's not flat (again her face has clear dimension):

    This is REMBRANDT LIGHT - has that "old masters" look with the light almost behind the subject and the classic loop nose shadow on the cheek. Shot with 48" Octabox and reflector for some fill. I chose a very dark/moody processing for this one:

    Here is BROAD LIGHT - meaning the key is on the broad side of the face. Best for men/boys. Shot with 36"x48" soft box and white foam core for fill. Never use this style with wide faced people or overweight people - it will exaggerate their facial width and be quite unflattering:

    For those starting out with lights - keep it simple. Use only 1 light and work it every way you can imagine until you "own it" (meaning you know it so well you can almost see the image before it's shot). Then and only then should you add a second light. I have been using studio strobes for about one year and I've yet to take a shot with 2 lights.

    Hope this is helpful.
  2. gilbert


    May 6, 2005
    So. CA

    Thanks for the nice little tutorial and fantastic images. Where do we sign up for your workshop? :wink:
  3. I agree with Gilbert, I'm ready to sign up for your class.

    There's not enough posts like this. Thanks for the examples! I re-read it three times looking at all the differences.

  4. Thanks so much Gilbert - I'm glad to know this was useful for you. :D 

  5. Hi Joe,

    Thanks for the kind words. :)  I would love to see more posts with some learning and sharing. At fredmiranda there are some fabulous portrait shooters but they rarely share their set-ups or "secrets". Too bad.

    BTW, I'm swamped this week but I'll be in touch over the weekend regarding the web site.

  6. fks


    Apr 30, 2005
    sf bay area
    hi joe-

    having tried my hand at portraits with one softbox last sunday, my hat's off to you.

    can i request photos of your setups? it would be great to actually see where your lights are located and the resulting shots.


  7. Great shots Joe. It's great of you to describe lighting types also. Cheers.
  8. Igor


    May 15, 2005
    Ukraine, Europe
    Joe, wonderful shots indeed, thanks for the "how to".
    I'm finishing setting up my mini-studio right now, will use your advice for sure :) 

    What angle do you place the strobe at? How high?
  9. Simon


    Apr 30, 2005
    Sydney, Australia
    Interesting post joe - many thanks
  10. Thanks for such an informative post! Very useful information.
  11. twig


    May 23, 2005
    I want to use SB-800's on location for portraits, and advice on a light modifier (soft box, octabox, etc.) that would be good to incorporate?
    It must pack and go up easily, be put together by a single person (me), have a ring to accept nikon flash units (or several, I think Chimera has an adapter for 2 flashes), moderate to large assembled size is fine as long as it set'sup eassily and quickly.

    cost isn't really an issue
  12. Jerry Snider

    Jerry Snider

    May 8, 2005
    Marvelous tutorial, great photos, and with models like these, who could go wrong? Great faces to work with!
    Jerry Snider
  13. very great post

    The only problem is that it is beyond my knowledge and skills. Does anyone know of a very basic site where I can get information and definitions of all these terms--maybe pictures of what the different items are.

    This post lets me know how important a knowledge of lighting is. I really appreciate the examples and explanations. Guess I better start with lighting 101.
  14. Thanks again to everyone who has responded - I appreciate the kind comments.

    To twig - I'm not a big fan of hot shoe flash using light mods since they are too "focused' and don't spread light like a true strobe. If you must use them umbrellas probably make the most since since you're getting the benefit of bounced light.
  15. MontyDog


    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
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