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One big light


Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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One big light

30 Jul 2020 7:44AM   Views : 203 Unique : 133


I confess: this piece is built around the bay window in my front room, and a softbox that I bought last year that is actually too big to fit into some rooms.

In the bay window, I use clothespegs to attach muslin to the curtain rail: wide material reaches down to the floor. I put a white cloth on the floor, and sometimes a white board on top of this to provide a solid surface to prevent losing feet behind folds, or for stability. A little editing removes the slightly uneven light, but the picture of Joceline sitting on the floor shows that changing the exposure can give a very different look.


With the softbox, I can’t shoot full length images, but the wrap-around effect is still potent. Careful framing means that it does not ‘show the joins’ unless I choose to let it, as in the image of Emi.


The learning point in this is that most environments provide a lot of reflection and fill light – not just Emi’s small lounge, but my larger one, with dark bookcases along one wall. This is why many professional studios are painted black: in them, there is light where the photographer chooses to put it, and nowhere else. It’s a very strange environment to work in, but rewarding – not something I’ve experienced often. The shot of Samantha Alexandra shows how a little editing removes the creases from the cloth, and gives a really light and airy feel.


A second learning point, perhaps, is that the exposure is the key to exploiting both high and low key lighting. If you follow the meter blindly, you’re heading for a boring mid-grey look. Decide which parts of the subject you want as highlight, which part as shadow, and expose accordingly. Often, using Manual exposure gives greater consistency, as recomposing an image alters the relative size of bright and dark areas. The emphasis is very heavily on using your camera’s meter and making creative choices, because while lighter and darker images can all look good, you can’t predict and manage the look in auto mode without constant fiddling with the exposure compensation.

There are more pictures of Lottii Rose in my gallery post today – it was quite hard work keeping her reasonably fully clothed for a couple of shots for this blog, but the images show the big octabox in use, and you can see how easy it is to edit out black corners, and in her more natural modelling state of nudity.

Anyway, please go and play… even a small softbox will provide a brilliantly (literally) burned-out background for smaller subjects.



Howard2 4 3 4 United Kingdom
30 Jul 2020 8:44AM
Of these 5 pics the top one is beautiful in every way. Does both photographer and model justice.
the 2nd - had the model been turned to face the other way more light would have reflected into her face.
Lighting techniques are out of my field - I just go by the end product. I appreciate your comments on lighting. Thanks

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dudler Plus
16 1.2k 1679 England
30 Jul 2020 8:50AM
Thanks, Howard. The aim of the second image was to show the messiness of the setup before choosing the right angle and a little editing, and is a 'behind the scenes' image. Mind you, I then noticed that the light reflected back from the floor really shows her magnificent bone structure in a way that a more conventionally-lit shot would not...
JuBarney Plus
9 33 4 United Kingdom
30 Jul 2020 7:22PM
Very interesting, and love the bottom image.
phred 14 83
30 Jul 2020 10:16PM
2nd from bottom floats my boat.
I made similar from white plastic plumbers tubing.
dudler Plus
16 1.2k 1679 England
31 Jul 2020 5:51PM
And the really decadent can buy a California Sunbounce to put between the sun and the subject - like THIS!
phred 14 83
1 Aug 2020 12:46PM

Quote:And the really decadent can buy a California Sunbounce to put between the sun and the subject - like THIS!


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