In case you haven’t guessed it, light is an important part of photography.
The very word photography means to Write with Light. “Photo” meaning light and “Graphy” mean write or writing…. or that is what the scholars who study Greek and the like will tell you. Light is light, but it affects images massively, depending on its quality. Sometomes the lighting of an image can tell its own story. Other times it can be so subtle, that it might not even be noticed. Some factors that affect the quality… or the look of light in an image are its colour, temperature, softness, brightness and direction.
In this example, the direction and softness of the light give it its look. The shot itself is of Kelly Donnegan of Tallaforina Fame. We shot this back in February and has done the print rounds in the Irish Sun and the Life Magazine supplement in the Sunday Independent recently.
The image is a simple portrait of Kelly. I went for a dark background to remove distraction and to keep Kelly the brightest part of the image. The two shots on the right show the effect that the rim lights had.
These type of shots are handy to have. Normally I take these type of shot on purpose during a shoot…. when ever I remember to that is. Luckily though, there is usually a few happy accidents when lights mis-fire and it does the same trick.
The two side by side images above show the effect that the two rim lights have on the shot. The lights are soft lights by virtue of their close distance to kelly ( their apparent size is bit). The light on the right is from a standard Elinchrom 60cm softbox, which had a 2m x 1m diffusion panel placed in-between the light and Kelly. This had the effect of softening the light even more before it hit kelly. It also took down the power of the light another stop or so. The Elinchrom D4 Lites only stop down a certain amount which means your shooting at a larger F-stop and thus larger Depth of Field.
The light from the right of the picture ( hair light) comes from just a Elinchrom 70cm Deep Octo Box. This is high on a boom behind Kelly. There is on diffusion panel for this as the light was higher than a panel and thus would have no effect. Although the walls in the background are white, they appear near black in the image. This is due to the distance that Kelly, and thus the light is from the background. Kelly was about 20 feet from the wall, meaning that the power of the light dropped off enough by the time it reached the back wall so that it appeared near black.
This has to do with the inverse square law and all that technical jargon. One way to think of it is the Flash Depth of Field, i.e. the closer the light is to a subject and the further away the background is, the darker the background will be. Just like the closer your focus point is to the camera, the more the background will be out of focus more.
You can see on the final shot on the left that the background did not go entirely dark and that there is some detail. This is due to the main light firing and adding a touch of light.
The shot below shows the whole set up…. roughly. Kelly would have been a bit further away from the wall. You can also another softbox on the lower left of the image. This was not used in the final image, but it was there to add a bit of fill. You can also see Kelly holding an iPad, checking out the test shots as they are sent from the camera. I will do up a post on tethering to the ipad soon.