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10-13-2019, 01:11 PM - 6 Likes   #1
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How is this done? Studio and location multi source lighting game

My idea is sort of game where someone has an problem on the subject of portrait lighting or a question about how a certain photo is made posts an example photo and I'll have a look and see if that can be reproduced at least in diagram form and perhaps even give some advice if Im able. That diagram or the piece of advice is of course open to discussion as this thread is not merely for my curiosity(well maybe 75% of it is) to see if I can figure things out from images posted in any meaningful manner. Gear does matter but mostly in modifiers and in most of the cases the brand means nothing. My personal toolbox consists of range of studio flashes, battery flashes and dirt cheap speedlites combined in a wide variety of modifiers.

I have a studio at my disposal but limited time to do anything non commercial so I'll see if I could arrange a day for turning a bunch of diagrams into reality if this picks up. (I suppose this is basically an AMA -thread)

For an example(This is not meant to be a thread just for copying another artist's photo but this was the only example I had at my disposal that had the inspiration easily to be found): A couple of years back I was approached by an younger gentleman on the subject of getting a photo of himself in the same manner as the posthumous painting of Kennedy.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy by Aaron Shikler


Painting itself is quite forgiving as there's clearly only one light source but coming from an hard source from high angle from behind and broad side translating to something like this:

From top to bottom:
Silver reflecting umbrella as keylight and spill for background from around 2,5m high
Silver reflecting umbrella continuing the keylight from around 1,5m high
150cm softbox for fill light the center at chest height
Power ratios between flash units went something like 1:1, 1:2, 1:8

Reproducing the exact lighting in the painting could have been possible with one light if the keylight had been about twice as high but managing the shadows in photo would have been too troublesome given the space restrictions at the time. I chose umbrellas as keylight for the hard quality of the light and for the much forgiving spill which suited for this kind of setup. Large fill light just to pull those shadows up, nothing more. The location and the angle of the fill prevent the shadows turning too flat and dual light source feel.

The diagram translated to this in real world


I'm in no way and authority on the subject of portrait photography and lighting but I feel that through my work in the field I've accumulated knowledge exceeding that of an average hobbyist's.

10-13-2019, 01:46 PM   #2
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This is sure intriguing stuff. Thanks so much for sharing. Like your male half-length portrait a lot.
10-13-2019, 01:48 PM   #3
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Good idea
10-13-2019, 01:55 PM   #4
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Quite the interesting game. So are you planning to post another for the members here to dissect and recreate?

10-13-2019, 02:18 PM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by gatorguy Quote
Quite the interesting game. So are you planning to post another for the members here to dissect and recreate?
I was rather hoping that other members would post an example of a photo which they would like to know of how it's done or ask about a problem the have with their own but if there's none tomorrow I'll kick the thread forward myself.
10-14-2019, 01:51 AM   #6
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On a side note: How do you do these lighting situation diagrams? Is that elixxier set.a.light 3D?
10-14-2019, 01:52 AM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Madaboutpix Quote
On a side note: How do you do these lighting situation diagrams? Is that elixxier set.a.light 3D?
These are from lightingdiagrams.com
10-14-2019, 02:01 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Drinkkeri Quote
These are from lightingdiagrams.com

Oh, that was lightning-fast indeed. Will check them out. Appreciated.

10-14-2019, 05:09 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Drinkkeri Quote
These are from lightingdiagrams.com
Nice resource, particularly the Strobox community. Love that the lighting diagrams accompany the photos.

Bookmarked.
10-14-2019, 05:44 AM   #10
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Nice work, I like it with the explanation! Thanks!
10-14-2019, 07:47 AM   #11
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As promised here's a kickoff with an example for you to deconstruct.



And a question related to that deconstrucion: As you can see the reflection on the glasses is artificial as I had trouble getting it right without changing the pose or my angle. Is there a (hassle free) way to get a softly graduated or any kind of cotrollable reflection without touching the keylight? White reflector could work but I didn't manage to get anything useful with that.
10-14-2019, 10:38 AM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Drinkkeri Quote
And a question related to that deconstrucion: As you can see the reflection on the glasses is artificial as I had trouble getting it right without changing the pose or my angle. Is there a (hassle free) way to get a softly graduated or any kind of cotrollable reflection without touching the keylight? White reflector could work but I didn't manage to get anything useful with that.
Hi, I can comment about the glass reflection. I was watching recently some videos of Joe Edelman (very funny guy) about how to make fashion pictures with really easy materials. He also explain how to get a nice reflection on the glasses. I think that, on the glasses, you need to reflect the (main) source light big enough, so this means that your main light needs to be big and be close. I just made a few attemps but I see also that the reflection on the glasses is a bit weak, so you need to touch the exposure locally a bit in post. Also, I think that you need glasses where the spectacles be in the same plane, and not curved, so this way you can see the same reflection on both spectacles (I don't have such glasses to test). Also, not all glasses reflect the light with the same intensity.

After watching Edelman's videos, I showed some pics to my daugther and she agreed to try to get such 'fashion look', so we get fun during an hour. This is my (quick and) humble attemp to get such kind of 'fashion look' with a reflection in the glasses.



It's way far to be perfect, just my first try, the glasses maybe are not very suitable for getting a good reflection, but I think this is the way: you need to get your light source reflected nicely in the glasses, touch exposure a bit, and that's all. Here you have a video of Joe Edelman that you'll find really interesting. He has 2 or 3 more videos explaining the how he get such nice reflections on glasses.


I know, maybe not your style ...

---------- Post added 14-10-19 at 08:11 PM ----------

I forgot my deconstruction . I think that you have a main light that is at the right and up, but not a lot, just looking at the shadows under the nose and neck. Also, as the shadows seem a bit hard you are using a small light source, or it's too far. At left and right (back and up) you are using maybe two strobes with gels, one red, one blue. I don't know if you use any fill light.
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