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. 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 Shadow 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 consequenc
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. 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.
Working with Hair light gets trickier with receding hairlines, and may be done without in that situation.
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.
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. 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.
Often the function of the light is fulfilled by more than one fixture at a time. It is possible to use multiple background lights.
For the setup used in the Viewer above, we created a mottled shadow pattern on the background by shining a hard light through a cookaloris (a random pattern cut 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.
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.
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.
In this shot, we added red gel to an Omni-light, focused wide enough to cover the background area of the shot.
Three Point Lighting
+ 3 POINT LIGHTING Photographic Imaging 1
+ Interview Lighting In the course of developing skills in lighting, this lesson may be among the most important. The concepts learned here will reappear in other lighting setups. As we go through other lessons see if you can see where the concepts reappear. If you can pick up on this it will make them easier to adapt, this will also help you with developing your personal style as a photographer. Using the following player you can experience the fours lights(Key, Fill, Hair, and Edge) and help get familiar with them.
+ Concepts The concepts of contrast and light angles were often influenced by the light coming in a window. Most likely the window didnt have direct sunlight shining into it. To create a classic look photographers used the north-light window in old photo studios and our modern soft lights.
+ KEY LIGHT Key Light: The primary or dominant source of light in a shot. The light often suggests an out of frame source. The mood of the picture could be adjusted if you fix (hard or soft) and changing the position to help set the mood of the shot.
+ Soft Key Light 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 mans cheek closest to the camera, you can see the effect; the shadow line running down the cheek. You may notice how often you see this in movies, television, and photographs. Full lighting with Soft KeyRifa 88, 1000W Soft lightRifa with Fabric Egg Crate
+ Hard Key Light This is an example of a hard Key light. A 250-watt Pro-light is being used. The transition between the light and dark areas is more dramatic. If you move the key light until you see a light 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. This 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 face.Full lighting with hard KeyRembrandt van Rijn, Portrait of a Lady with an Ostrich-Feather Fan, c. 1658/1660Pro-light, 250W Focusing Hard light
+ Key Light Techniques 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. As a start, find the angle and height for your Key light that places that shadow To make the nose shadow disappear your light is Bad nose shadow anywhere from directly in front of the subject, to Reduced nose shadow directly over the camera. You will start to lose the shadow line on the cheek as you come around. Bringing the Key light face-on is effective for lightening the shadows from wrinkles. Used with makeup it is even more effective. This position is very flat 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 Hatchet lighting 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. Experiment by adjusting the distance between the light and your subject to achieve the balance. In this example a 500-watt Omni-light with a umbrella worked well for the single Key / Fill Single light (Omni-light 500 W) with light and a 125-watt L-light is providing the shine umbrella, positioned to function as Key on the hair and shoulders, don’t forget to adjust light. the lights according to your subject. Perhaps your situation calls for a more or less powerful bulb or a different fixture. Get the feel of working with a small hard source (you can really see where those shadows are) and then perhaps add an umbrella and see that by increasing the relative size of the light source you increase its softness. Single light result
+ Fill Light The Fill Light is used to lighten shadows and control contrast ratios. 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 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. We have chosen a Rifa-lite 44 soft light, with a 250-watt bulb, with a Fill light alone soft Egg Crate to control the spill. This doesnt just apply to lighting faces. Anytime you are treating the left side 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). Rifa 44, 250W Soft light
+ Fill Light Techniques When the Fill is directly over the camera it adds to the Key lights exposure. The near-the-camera position can be considered when you want to both fill shadows and still maintain modeling on the subject. A B C A) Lower ratio of Key to Fill light As with the Key light you could B) Higher ratio of Key to Fill light C) Double Nose Shadow adjust the distance to lessen the intensity as well as by adding scrims or neutral density gels to the light. Probably the only wrong way to do Fill is if it adds another set of visible shadows.
+ Reflected Fill Light Another method of providing Fill is by bouncing the Key light off of a reflector. In the example shown, the soft Key light is being reflected. A reflector surface will soften the reflected light more and give less chance of secondary shadows. Specular Reflector bouncing Soft Key light to Close-up detail Using a matte white card will provide a create Fill very soft reflected fill at close range. You may have natural fill already happening from light colored walls reflecting back to the subject
+ Hair Light 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.
+ Hair Light Techniques 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. If you are dealing with thinning hair or bald heads, you probably already have enough separation from the background. See the Edge Light description below for more information. Since all backlights are aimed in the direction of the camera be careful to keep any light from shining into the Hair light alone Rifa 44, 250W Soft light 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.
+ Edge Light 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. 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 Edge light alone L-light, 100W angles. Try using a small light with an umbrella or with a diffusion gel.
+ Background Light 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.
+ 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. 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. Setup with cookaloris pattern Pro-light, 250W Since large broad sources tend to spill on the background consider using an Egg Crate on any soft lights you use. Other lights should all have barn doors to direct light only where its wanted.
+ Background Light Options 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 alone in a darker background to Omni-light 500W focusable increase its effect. Coloring the slash Setup with Slash Accent with a gel is also a common approach.
+ Background Light Options A more practical approach to adding visual interest to the background would be to add a highlight to an object in the setting. The result looks like it have could come from track lighting or Setup with Highlight a recessed ceiling light, adding to the natural feel of the effect. AccentL-light with 100W lamp
+ Background Light Options A popular technique in news magazine format TV over the past 10 years has been to give the background a more obviously treated. It provides a contrast of color and feel between the environment and the subject. Setup with Color background Use barn doors on the fixture to trim any spill that may fall on the subject, as its color will make it very noticeable. Omni-light 500W focusable