Interview Lighting In the course of developing skills in the craft of lighting, this lesson may be among the most important. The concepts covered here will reappear in many other lighting setups. Sometimes they are there on a subtle level, but they are almost always there. As you go through the different lessons, pay attention to how often these concepts reappear. The more you understand them, both individually and in the way they work together to create an effective image, the easier it will be for you to adapt them as needed in a variety of situations. They will also help you to create your own distinctive lighting style. Using this interactive player, you can turn on each light in the setup individually to see its effect. You can also view the entire setup to see placement & choice of fixtures. These 4 lights: Key, Fill, Hair, & Edge, form the basics of a well lit portrait. Familiarize yourself with each light and its effect on the whole picture
There concepts of contrast and light angles were often influenced by the light coming in a window. Very often from a window that didnt have direct sunlight shining into it. The north-light window in old photo studios and our modern soft lights attempt to emulate this classic look.
KEY LIGHT Key Light defined: The primary or dominant source of light in a shot often suggests an out of frame source. Choice of fixture (hard or soft) and its position will help set the mood of the shot.
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Hard Key Light We are using a 250-watt Pro-light, notice the difference? The transition between the light and dark areas is more dramatic. If you move the key light until you see a light triangular patch under the near eye, youve achieved what is referred to as Rembrandt lighting. Rembrandt actually experimented with having the main light coming from many directions, but this is the look that stuck to his name. You may notice that both soft and hard key lights are approaching the face from the far side of the face, from the camera which is referred to as the short side While it doesnt always have to be so, it is very common and a safe place to start. It might be so popular because it has a slimming effect on the photograph. Full lighting with hard Key Rembrandt van Rijn, Portrait of a Lady with an Ostrich-Feather Fan, c. 1658/1660 Pro-light, 250W Focusing Hard light
Key Light Techniques The nose shadow is easier to see if you use a hard light, but blends more attractively when you use a larger soft source. As a start, find the angle and height for your Key light that places that shadow along the crease between the nose and the corner of the mouth. Now try placing your light so the nose shadow is nearly gone. This will happen when your light is anywhere from directly in front of the subject, assuming they are facing slightly away from the lens, to directly over the camera. You will start to lose the shadow line on the cheek as you come around but the effect may be what you want. Bringing the Key light face-on is effective for lightening the shadows from wrinkles. While this position tends to allow light to spill onto the background it is usually more important to have the subject look good. If possible you could move the subject and lights further away from the back wall to allow the spill to fall off. This position is very flat light so you need to balance the needs of filling wrinkles or a slimming effect. Another look is what is sometimes called Hatchet lighting. Here the shadow line runs right down the center of the face. It can be a dramatic effect when paired with little or no fill lighting or some edge lights.
Simple Light Setups Sometimes when power or time limitations are factors, one light will do the work of both Key and Fill. A second small light from behind to add a little shine to the hair adds a finishing touch. Experiment by adjusting the distance between the light and your subject to achieve the balance between your key light and the ambient light. In this example a 500-watt Omni-light with a nylon umbrella worked well for the single Key and Fill light and a 125-watt L-light is providing the shine on the hair and Single light (Omni- shoulders. Dont forget to make the necessary changes in the height of your light 500 W) with stand and possibly an exposure change to your camera as you adjust position of the umbrella, lights. Perhaps your situation calls for a positioned to more or less powerful bulb or a different fixture. Get the feel of working with a small function as Key hard source (you can really see where those light, with enough shadows are) and then perhaps add an umbrella and see that by increasing the softness to also relative size of the light source you increase its softness. act as Fill light. Single light result
F ill L ig h t Fill light defined: Fill is used to lighten shadows and control contrast ratios (the ratio of amount of Key to Fill light). Combined with the Key light, Fill light helps define the mood by lighting the shaded areas in a range of intensities. It can vary from none, to a level equaling the Key light.
Fill Light Fill light alone Rifa 44, 250W Soft light After setting the Key light, you may find that the darker side of the face is too dark for your tastes. There are several methods for adding Fill light to reduce the shadows. In the setup shown in the viewer at the beginning of this lesson, we have chosen a Rifa light 44 soft light, with a 250-watt bulb, with a soft Egg Crate to control the spill. This doesnt just apply to lighting faces. Anytime you are treating the side left shaded by the Key light you are working on the Fill. The amount of Fill that is added depends on your taste (or the preference of the person who hired you). Keep in mind the look you are attempting; especially if you are shooting something that is dramatic. Generally you can most easily alter the mood of a shot by raising and lowering the intensity of the Fill. In fact on some soap operas the main difference in lighting between a daytime interior scene and a night setting is they drop the Fill almost all together and light the background a darker than normal.
Fill Light Techniques Placing light placement positions near the camera to hide the shadows behind the subject or more off to the opposite side from the Key light. When the Fill is directly over the camera it adds to the Key lights exposure so consider adjusting for it. You will most often need a less intense light for the Fill side. Key light you could adjust the A) Lower ratio of Key to Fill light distance to lessen the intensity as well as by adding B) B) Higher ratio of Key to Fill light scrims or neutral density gels C) C ) D oubl Nose Shad ow e to the light. Images A & B to the right show differing levels of Fill light. Notice how image A looks more fully lit, while still maintaining the Key as the dominant light source, and the reduced Fill in image B increases its dramatic effect.
Reflected Fill Light Another method of providing Fill is by bouncing the Key light off of a reflector. A specular reflector (the shiny hard side) will kick back nearly as much light as the Key light shining on it, in the same degree of hardness that strikes it. In the example shown, the soft Key light is being reflected. A stippled reflector surface will soften the reflected light more and give less chance of secondary shadows. Using a matte white card will provide a Specular Reflector bouncing very soft reflected fill at close range. You Soft Key light to create Fill may have natural fill already happening Closeup detail from light colored walls reflecting back to the subject. Indeed you might even plan such a situation. Note: In highly reflective rooms, if your lighting is too flat, you might consider a technique called negative fill.
Hair Light Hair light defined: A light from behind the subject, often weaker than the Key or Fill, aimed at the head & shoulders. It may also called a backlight. It creates a sense of separation between subject and background, and adds highlights & shine to hair, and is often widened to include a subjects shoulders. Working with Hair light gets trickier with receding hairlines, and may be done without in that situation.
Hair Light Techniques A l o n g w i t h the amount of Fill light you use, you can continue to add finesse to the lighting to reveal the subjects form by using light from angles beyond what you use for the Fill. Both Hair lights and Edge lights fall into this category. Traditionally Hair lights are placed directly opposite the camera. It creates highlights and gives a nice shine to the hair. Small hard lights will make small hard lines and edges, which are appropriate if you are implying the motivation for the light is a hard source. Larger sources provide an even, gentle wash. In the nineteen seventies the extreme backlight was the rage. Find a glamour photo from the era and it will likely have a strong back light blasting directly at the back of the head causing the Hair light alone lions mane hair style in fashion at the time to glow. If this is what youre after, just try to keep Rifa 44, 250W Soft the light far enough back so it doesnt start your light subjects hair on fire. Hair light aloneRifa 44, 250W Soft light Since all backlights are aimed in the direction of the camera be careful to keep any light from shining into the front of the lens, causing lens flare. Wave your hand in front of the light and see if a shadow falls on the camera.
Edge Light E d g e l i g h t d e f i n e d : A light from behind the subject, often weaker than the Key or Fill, is placed to create an edge of definition between subject and background. Similar in practice to Hair light, it is also a form of backlight normally used to define one dark object from another, for example a dark jacket from a similarly dark background.
Edge Light Techniques Edge lights create subtle defining edges, and line-like highlights, which can be added to your setup to delineate the edge of your subject. You may hear them referred to as kickers, liners or edge lights. If your subjects dark hair or jacket seems to blend into a similarly dark background you can add an edge to visibly separate, or cut them away, from the background. You provide a clue to the viewer where the subject leaves off and the background begins. If you have decided to use little or no fill an edge of some sort can enhance the dramatic effect. To experiment with these effects start with small fixtures and keep an eye on the shadow from the subjects ear. It is popular to have a light edge along the jaw Edge light alone line. Try hard sources at different L-light, 100W distances and angles. Try using a small light with an umbrella or with a diffusion gel.
Background Light Background Light defined: Used for lighting the background of a set, as a whole or specific areas. Or for lighting objects in the background of the set that are significant to the image. It also contributes to creating separation between subject and background. Often the function of the light is fulfilled by more than one fixture at a time. It is possible to use multiple background lights.
Background Light Techniques How you deal with backgrounds depends on whether it is part of the story or just a neutral setting for your subject. Either way you may notice the background level is usually down, or less bright than the subject. However it is not unusual to highlight something in the background for interest. A plant or dim lamp is a common set dressing. For the setup used in the Viewer above, Setup with cookaloris we created a mottled shadow pattern on the background by shining a hard light pattern through a cookaloris (a random pattern cut Pro-light, 250W into wood, foamcore, or black foil). It was lit by a 250W focusable Pro-light, a hard source. If you look at the Setup shot in the Viewer, you will see the cookaloris, tho the Pro is hidden from view by the Rifa Key light. By the time youve put up your Key, Fill, Hair and Edge lights you might have light bouncing off the walls and ceiling lighting up the background too much.
Background Light Options Slash Accent It is also common to treat the background using a slash of light made by putting two barndoors close together on a hard light source. The image to the left shows a slash created by a focusable Omni-light. Focusing the light to flood will give a larger and more consistent output level to the slash. You can mix the slash with general background fill, making it less prominent, or use the slash accent Setup with Slash alone in a darker background to increase its effect. Coloring the slash Accent with a gel is also a common Omni-light 500W approach. focusable
Background Light Options Highlight Accent A more practical approach to adding visual interest to the background would be to add a highlight to an object in the setting. In this shot, we used a tiny L-light with 100 Watt lamp directed to place a small pool of light on the flowers and the picture frame. The hard light character of the lamp created a sharp shadow. The result looks like it have could come from track lighting or a recessed ceiling light, adding to Setup with Highlight the natural feel of the effect. AccentL-light with 100W lamp
Background Light Options Color Background A popular technique in news magazine format TV over the past 10 years has been to give the background a more obviously treated / theatrical effect. It provides a contrast of color and feel between the environment and the subject. Setup with Color In this shot, we added red gel to background an Omni-light, focused wide Omni-light 500W enough to cover the background focusable area of the shot. Use barn doors on the fixture to trim any spill that may fall on the subject, as its color will make it very noticeable.