Category Archives: Lighting

location light 02

Sihang Zhang poses in the hallway just before my students set out in groups with pocket wizards, strobes, light stands and umbrellas. F5.6 at 1/200, ISO 400. Strpbe is on half power. 200 mm lens about 40 feet away. The umbrella provides a beautiful soft light espcially when fairly close to your subject.

location light 05

Nate Kostegian, right, and Joe Tobianski set up a light in the hallway of CMU’s new education building. F6.3 at 1/80th. 70mm lens. Slower shutter speed to lighten background.

420 poker student photos-4

Studio student, Krista Tacey, brought in her childhood piggy bank and set this up during a hands on still life exercise. An SB 800 Nikon Speedlight was used with a Lumiquest Softbox III. A gobo was used to darken the background and eliminate a distracting reflection. In this case the gobo was a black piece of foam core held underneath the light and between the light and the piggy bank. The image was cropped slightly all around the scene to add impact.

In class last Wednesday, my JRN 420 students and I had a fun time photographing each other as an exercise for studio portraits (see their blogs above). While this is a mug shot and not the type of photos we are trying to make, these do illustrate what each light does. Four lights were used for the top left photo. The main, fill, rim, and background lights. We turned off one light at a time to see how each strobe affects the lighting. The rim light was turned off for the top right photo. Then at bottom left, we turned off the background light. At bottom right the fill light was turned off. Try to imagine what Aliscia would look like if lights were turned off in a different sequence. What purpose does each light serve?

Studio-Demonstration_titlesThanks for posing, Aliscia!

Compare the two photos below. The top photo was shot bouncing the flash on the wall to Martha’s left. The bottom photo was taken with the flash turned around and aimed directly at her. Huge difference! The reason the light is so soft in the top photo is because the light source was about 6 to 8 feet in diameter coming from the wall. In comparison, the bottom photo’s light source was extremely narrow at about one inch by three inches. Notice also the fall off of the broad light lit up the background while the harsh lit photo had little fall off keeping the background dark. Also, with the broad light source the intensity diminishes. Notice the five stop difference between the exposure for each photo. Which do you prefer? Why?