Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Four Hot Lighting Looks
Knowing how to create these effects can help bring your portfolio to the top of the list when you’re bidding on a gig
3 Lens Flare
There was a time when flare in the shot was thought of as a technical fault and it condemned a transparency to the trash bin. Today, the washed-out, at-the-beach look complete with into-the-sun flare is so popular that it’s commonly created in Photoshop! In fact, the next time you’re watching a high-budget sci-fi movie with ships marauding through space, you’ll probably notice the use of flare as the viewer pans across a scene in space even though such a shot is completely created without a lens!
Whereas the ring flash can create a haunting catchlight in the eyes, the washed-out backlit shot with lens flare isn’t about calling attention to an intense gaze as much as it’s about generating a warm, soothing and casual overall image. Colors are muted, and the background is largely blown out. This look, of course, grew out of the amateur snapshots of our youth (when parents admonished children to shoot with the sun at your back). Today the effect is so in that, more often than not, it’s created with artificial light.
Using a ring flash certainly can’t be thought of as a new, groundbreaking technique, but it generates a look that has broad appeal and remains popular with buyers.
4 Ring Light
The ring flash creates a distinct catchlight in a subject’s eye that’s slightly haunting and very cool. This isn’t a new look by any means, but it’s a big attention-grabber. To get the full effect, a ring flash is the ideal tool, but there are other options available, as well. You can set up a large umbrella and position it directly behind the photographer with a central obstruction to hide the reflection of the photographer and camera. The key is to have the light source and the lens on the same axis. If you’re using a ring flash, wider-angle lenses tend to be better at creating the look than telephotos because the farther back you and the ring flash are from the subject, the smaller the catchlight appears in the eyes and therefore the less of a ring effect. Moving back with a longer lens, however, does preserve the direct frontal nature of the light so even with a ring flash and a medium telephoto, you’ll get a very cool effect; it just won’t have the same catchlight.
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