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 thru 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
In the setup shown in the viewer, the Key light is a very soft Rifa-lite 88 fitted with a 1000-watt bulb and a soft Egg Crate to control its spill.Look at the cheek closest to the camera. Notice the effect; the shadow line running down the cheek. Begin to notice how often you see this in movies, television, and photographs. It's everywhere isn't it?
This is an example of a hard Key light, instead of soft. 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, you've 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. What is referred to as the short side.While it doesn't 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
When you practice placing the Key light on your subject, keep an eye on the shadow it creates from the nose.The nose shadow is easier to see if you use a hard light but blends more attractively when you 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. Used with makeup it is even more effective. 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. You may also have to adjust the height of the key light to better fill deep set eyes. A larger softer light will be able to do this without causing the nose shadow to become distracting.
Fill light aloneRifa 44, 250W Soft lightAfter 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-lite 44 soft light, with a 250-watt bulb, with a soft Egg Crate to control the spill.This doesn't 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.
More commonly, you may begin to consider 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 light's exposure so consider adjusting for it. The near-the-camera position can be considered when you want to both fill shadows and still maintain a little modeling on the subject. You will most often need a less intense light for the Fill side.As with the Key light you could adjust the distance to lessen the intensity as well as by adding scrims or neutral density gels to the light. While it could be most any kind of light, a Fill light is usually a soft source so using an umbrella or a softbox is common.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.A) Lower ratio of Key to Fill lightB) Higher ratio of Key to Fill lightC) Double Nose ShadowProbably the only wrong way to do Fill is if it adds another set of visible shadows; visible to the camera that is (you only need to worry about what's in your frame).Image C shows a closer view with a double nose shadow. This is caused by having a Fill light that is almost as strong as the Key, placed in a position so that the shadow the nose throws on the opposite side of the face, visible to the camera. Always look closely at your shot to see if your lights are creating unintended consequences.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 very soft reflected fill at close range. You may have natural fill already happening 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. This is often done by hanging a dark cloth or piece of black foamcore on the fill side to prevent stray light from providing too much fill. Experiment with different amounts of fill and see if you can manipulate the effect to change the feel of the lighting.
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 subject's shoulders. Working with Hair light gets trickier with receding hairlines, and may be done without in that situation.
Edge light defined: 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.
Along with 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 lion's mane hair style in fashion at the time to glow. If this is what you're after, just try to keep the light far enough back so it doesn't start your subject's hair on fire.If you are dealing with thinning hair or bald heads, you probably already have enough separation from the background; either because of the contrast or color differences, and only want to play with adding a subtle edge to the side of the head and neck. You may just need an edge on the shoulders of a dark garment that is blending into the background. See the Edge Light description below for more information. For shiny heads you could have separate lights for each shoulder or put up a traditional hair light and block, or flag, the part of the light falling on the head.Hair light aloneRifa 44, 250W Soft lightSince 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.With the advent of modern cameras there is less need for the really heavy use of hair light unless it is to appear as motivated or logical in the scene. Watch for programs done in film or HD and notice how natural these highlights are compared to older video programming.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 subject's 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 line. Try hard sources at different distances and angles. Try using a small light with an umbrella or with a diffusion gel.Edge lights are also aimed in the direction of the camera, so 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.
Bournekaleb 3 point lighting presentation
THREEPOINTLIGHTINGPHOTOGRAPHIC IMAGING ONE
INTERVIEW LIGHTINGKEY The following presentation will demonstrate how different lighting setups will affect a photo and howFILL you can create an effective image with lightingHAIR techniques.EDGE
FILLRifa 44; 250w bulb• Control contrast• Lighten shadows• Alters the “mood” of a shot
FILL LIGHTTECHNIQUES• Positioning • Move light closer to hide shadows • Move near camera to fill shadows while maintaining Key• Filters • Lessen intensity through neutral density gels or scrims • Umbrella or softbox• Reflect • Eliminates multiple shadows Less Fill More Fill
BACKGROUNDLight significant objects in the background• Slash accent • Literal slash of light in the background• Highlight accent • Imitate natural lighting• Color background • Turn the background to a single hue