Experimenting with lighting in the studio

Following the lighting theory induction I did, where I learnt about three point lighting and how to it, I booked a photography studio, and tried to put these skills to use.

Here you can see all of the photographs I took whilst playing around with lighting (via my Flickr)

First I used a mannequin borrowed from the fashion department, to see how different lighting changed how the static model looked. I then got my friend Zoe to pose, because obviously the shiny texture of the mannequin reflected a lot of the light so had a very different effect, I wanted to see how the lighting looked on a real person. I found the difference quite substantial, with Zoe’s skin and clothing not reflecting as much light, and so the image appeared darker, for this reason I then had to increase the brightness of the lights to get a better image.

I played around with edge lights, and found them to be very useful, stopping the models blending into the background, by highlighting the edges. Often the edge light was very important in the composition, and without it the model lacked definition. (see examples below)

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I enjoyed experimenting with shadows to see if this would create a more striking aesthetic. Creating a more dramatic contrast between the edge light and the shadows.

In hindsight, towards the end of the shoot the lights were definitely too dark, because of this a lot of the photos looked poor. They needed to be brighter to get a clearer image. I probably got carried away trying to experiment with individual lights to see what effect this had (by turning most of them off, or turning them right down, and using one main light). I should probably have had a brighter fill light, or used a stronger edge light to make the model stand out. ( see examples below of photos that were too dark)

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Something I tried was to lift the lights higher up, and angle them down so the model looked as if it was more naturally lit, than when the lights were lower, as it created the lighting you might get both outdoors from sunlight. These images were less dramatic. (See below)

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It is important to note that I was using photography lights, because they were already set up in the studio. Film lighting is apparently much brighter, and so the effects of each light are stronger than the ones I was using, and so each technique would be magnified. This is not a problem, as the principles are the same, however I should bear this in mind when coming to use the film lights.

Below are a few pictures where you can see the set up I used: alternating between 2, 3 and 4 point lighting, using a soft box on one of the lights.

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One aspect of the practice that I struggled with, was the actual photographing of the lighting, as I am not very experienced with photography. Obviously this is strongly linked to filming, as I use the same DSLR, and so the set up is the same. This made me realise that if I developed my understanding of photography techniques, my filming would also improve: looking at things like composition, ISO, white balance, framing etc would be very useful to me. My friend Zoe is a photographer, and she said she would be able to help me to develop my skills in the next week or so.


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