Thursday, March 8, 2012

secret thursday: how to use simple photographic lighting in a studio

Studio lighting always seemed quite complicated before I worked as an assistant photographer (and I still am definitely no expert).  The following photographs were taken by Stephen Ward for Russh magazine and he is one of the best photographers I've assisted, you can see the rest of the shoot here.  His lighting in this shoot is quite simple but gives a very beautiful effect and makes the photograph look like a painting:
The circle with the cross is the model and the two square rectangles is a symbol for the camera.  

Grey flat refers to the background and black poly is polystyrene board painted black which will absorb light and so gives the dark shadow from behind.  Actually we moved the flat board and model to an more of an angle rather than directly parallel to the window.  As you can see there are no studio lights in this at all, instead the big window is used as the light source.


This is the (slightly) more complicated setup.  The background is white and quite far back from the model.  Towards the background is a light with a blue gel, which is blue acetate held secured in front of the bulb to colour the light and cast the blue onto the background.  You can see how the photographer chose to let a little of the blue light touch the left side of the models face.

Either side of the model is the polystyrene painted black which creates the black shadow either side of the models face.  

The main light is angled from 45 degrees, it's higher than the model and pointing downwards.

The 'white kick' is a small white reflector angled on the ground upwards at the model to bounce a bit of light back in.

This is a two light set up.

These photographs were NOT taken by me and remain the copyright of photographer Stephen Ward.