Master Class
Simplify And Clarify; Taking The Mystery Out Of Lighting Page 2

Here in mid-afternoon direct sunlight I've positioned them similarly to the way I posed them by window light. I have direct sunshine falling on both of their faces. Then, I placed a strong, direct Quantum flash to my right to create the light on the front of their faces. I set the flash to be 1 f/stop over the ambient light this time. The results are totally natural looking. The strong sunlight is still overpowering the flash, but with the flash added you can see detail in their eyes and throughout the shadowed areas of their faces.

As the sun began to get closer to the horizon I was able to place Westcott's translucent panel between them and the direct sunlight.

By turning their faces toward the broad light source I was again able to attain the exact same lighting pattern on their faces as I have been using all along. The sandy beach was my reflector fill. When they were posed by the panel you could see the lighting pattern on both profiles before I snapped the shutter. I still had my camera set for Aperture Priority. With all that white coming into the lens I had to override the camera's setting by 1 or 2 f/stops to keep the faces from going too dark.

When the sun goes still closer to the horizon, the intensity of the direct sunlight becomes so much less than before that I'm able to use the direct light of the sun as my main light.

From an extremely low camera height I was able to place this 2/3 view of Toby against the sky to create a high-key study of her. I simply turned her face to the light and positioned my lens on the shadowed side of her face, looking up toward the sky. It took me one or two exposures to get the proper exposure, much the same as it did when I photographed the two of them together against the translucent background.

Toward the end of the day, the color warms up and the late afternoon sunlight begins to radiate warmth on their faces.

Notice anything different about the light pattern on Toby's face here? Of course not! It's one and the same--all natural light!

There was some forethought in setting up this photograph.

I told Charlie which direction to face, so that I could photograph into the shadowed side of his face. Look, there's that same lighting pattern on him, just as if I had planned it that way. Smiles. Then, I just let them play, and you see the results here! For this picture I used Shutter Priority to stop the movement.

The final double profile of the two of them still shows that same lighting pattern.

So, are you bored with my using only one lighting pattern throughout this whole series? Or, are you getting the point? One doesn't need to learn a whole lot of different lighting patterns to create a variety of pictures. Here, under so many different lighting conditions, I was able to vary the contents of the pictures without having to change the pattern at all.

In a way it's comparable to creating a lot of different sentences, all constructed using a subject and a verb. We all speak the same language, but at the same time we're each able to express our own feelings differently. The sentence structure doesn't change, only the message changes. Are you getting my message? Keeping the lighting similar in all of these pictures is a way of expressing one's feelings. If you aren't worried about the grammar (lighting), you can say just about anything you want in your photographs!

Hey, what the heck happened to the mystery of lighting? There is none. It's always the same for me!

Toby and Charlie, by the way, will be posing for my November class in Hollywood, Florida, and also for my Las Vegas class just before the WPPI convention. Hope to see some of you there.