If you watch Glee you might be interested in this
Not too long back, i caught the Glee Madonna special where Sue did a erm… Vogue MTV.
If you have not already found out, i am a big fan of b/w portraiture. That’s why, i liked what i saw in the show. Before i go any further, here’s the video.
One of the particular scene that caught my attention was of Kurt and Mercedes.
I really liked the soft glow on Kurt and Mercedes’ head and wanted to try and replicate something like that.It helps that the lighting setup is somewhat similar to how i always light up my subject:
- Big source
- beauty dish/ octagon
Here’s a rough sketch on how i think Kurt and Mercedes were lighted up.
Surely the key light was top down because of the shadows underneath Kurt and Merc’s chin. But if you look closely, you may find that Kurt’s neck has a tad more details than Merc’s. To me, that’s an indication of fill light. Because Kurt has more details on the neck, i’m guessing the fill light comes from the right side as well and as a result, barely reach Merc due to light fall off. To achieve the rich black ‘backdrop’, both of them must be standing pretty far from a wall. I’m guessing 5m but now that i’m writing this entry, i’m guessing it may go up to even 20m.
Find out more about light falloff and the inverse square law here
PS: A self-proclaimed good photography instructor once told me that it is meaningless to teach the inverse square law to students in a lighting class. But you know what? Inverse Square Law is probably one of the most important aspect of lighting. The fact that you disagree suggests that you suck at teaching photography.
Ok back to topic.
These days i’m just too broke and busy to be renting a studio just to do so. (Maybe in the future, but surely not now).
Therefore, i went to dig into my archives to find some photos that might achieve the same effect, given the lighting setup is very similar to how i always light it.
And it didn’t take very long to find it.
Disclaimer: This photo belongs to Noel Yeo, i merely setup the lighting. Model: Vanessa Vanderstraaten
Here’s the lighting setup
So with a little black and white conversion… viola!
If i remember correctly, Vanessa was lighted up with a Beauty Dish, which produces a lot more contrast that an octagon softbox (i’m using more octa these day). This explains why the glow on Vanessa is not as erm… ‘glowing’ as compared to Kurt and Merc. Let’s not forget that both Kurt and Merc were lighted up with continuous lighting (i’m guessing HMI) and not flash like Vanessa’s shot.
If you ask me, the most important takeaway from this post is understanding the importance of light falloff. It applies not just to portrait but also on other stuff like my recent interest in flowers.
Will try to do a post on that soon.
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