June 17, 2013

Knowing Light. Lighting set-ups (I) The basis.

Unlike natural light, artificial light can be controlled to our discretion in every way: direction, intensity, angle, colour... When in a studio, you have infinite options to light a subject; there are photographers who only light with one lamp, others use 6, 7, 8 different lamps. There's not really a rule to decide the number of light points to use: what is important is getting the illumination and shadows you wanted with a light setting you are comfortable working with. 

If you are getting started to studio light, it may help you to know that there are some basics lighting set-ups most of photographers work with. But before explaining them it is essential to know the types of light yon can employ in a studio.

Key light. It gives the direction of light and the level of luminance of the scene (it's the most powerful lamp lighting the scene).

Fill light. It is used to fill up the shadows and reduce contrast. It may fall all over the scene or just on a part of it. It can be replaced by a reflector bouncing the key light.

Rim light. It is positioned behind the subject pointed to the subject's back. It separates the subject from the background creating a halo around the subject's outline.

Background light. As it name suggests, it lights the whole background or some small parts of it we want to emphasize.  It can be also used for creating patterns of light on a Cyclorama. 

Hair light. Similar to rim light but positioned higher and pointed to the hair highlighting it.

Texture light. Positioned on one side of the subjects. It is a must in fashion photography  because it reveals texture and the nature of the material.

Colour light. A frontal light which helps with colour saturation.

Now that you know the basis you are ready for the following step: how to position them. So stay tuned for the next post!

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I find reading this article a joy. It is extremely helpful and interesting and very much looking forward to reading more of your work..