Lighting comparison

October 05, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

For ages now I've been meaning to do two things.

The first was to find out see whether it was possible to create a high key portrait in my tiny front room. The received wisdom is that to do this kind of thing well you need lots of space between the subject and the backdrop to avoid unpleasant lens flare and 'bleeding'.

The second was to create a record of the various subtle differences resulting from slight changes to a lighting setup.

I needed a patient model - so here I am. Apologies for the rather severe expression, if I attempt to smile for any length of time then the friendly neighbourhood serial killer makes an appearance, but I can maintain a consistent neutral expression.

Here's the setup..  a deep silver reflective brolly & Godox AD360 tilted downwards, square on to but just above the subject position. The camera is just below it the brolly.

For a backdrop I used the diffuser from a 5-in-1 reflector, duct-taped to the door frame, with a Yongnuo 560III speedlite & shoot-through brolly behind. I couldn't get a really even backdrop without the brolly, there were various patterns from the speedlite's own diffuser and lens on it. The backdrop was reflective metered at 3 stops above the incident reading from the brolly - which was enough to make it nearly but not quite pure white, but hasn't introduced any serious flare despite the proximity to the subject position. For more on metering for a white background take a look at Frank Doorhof's excellent video.

BackdropBackdrop Camera positionCamera position The studioThe studio

I also added a grid, a diffuser and some small white reflector cards in various positions. I didn't re-meter for every single shot, though I probably should have, so bear that in mind when comparing images. Try to ignore the exposure and concentrate on the shadow density and shadow transitions.

The results are all entirely unprocessed other than the usual Lightroom import & export stuff; they vary from the one on the left - just the deep silver brolly - to the one on the right, where the brolly was fitted with a diffuser and 2 reflector cards were held in a V under my chin just out of shot.

Deep silver brolly OnlyDeep silver brolly Only Brolly + diffuser,  2 reflector cards held in VBrolly + diffuser, 2 reflector cards held in V

If you want to see the other variations then the full gallery is here. The interesting challenge will be working which set up works well for a given face shape or to create a particular mood.




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