As I mentioned towards the end of the first setup from the previous page, when we removed the table & lamp, we lost the fill light, and Jessica's side that was opposite the main light fell into shadow and disappeared into the shadows of the background.  And as I mentioned, I don't like these kinds of images.  So, we corrected this.  We removed the funky chair from the image, and added an extra strobe to replace the fill light.  The result:  some beautiful lighting for a beautiful model.  For the rest of the day of exposing film, we used variations on this lighting.   


I use the digital camera to preview the lighting.  Something that I want you to remember when you are looking at most of these digital color images -- I'm only looking at the lighting & I'm not concentrating on the model's pose or facial expression.  So, here is the initial image that we used to check out the lighting.  

What do you think?  Well, I didn't like it, or rather, I knew I could do better.  Here's the stuff I corrected:

  • I didn't like the shadow on the left side of Jessica's face, so I moved the main light a little further back & raised it a bit higher.
  • I felt that the fill light provided too much fill, so I moved it back, too.

Corrections made, we continued.  





I've always found it challenging to devise a lighting scheme that compliments both figure & face.  But here's two good examples of why I like this lighting:  first the image on the left -- I do like shadowy pictures, I just don't like it when shadows disappear into shadows.  With the fill light in place, there's still lots of shadows, but Jessica's figure is well defined.  I also like that you can see a lot but you can't see everything -- that way your imagination has to fill in the blanks.  Finally, I don't mind that her eyes are hidden in shadow -- you can still see enough of her expression.  Now, the image of the right:  I like how Jessica's left eye pops out of shadow, and with her hands more to her sides, you can see her muscle tone really well, especially with this light, because the shadows  define her shape.  In retrospect, the hair light is a bit much -- it could have been toned down a bit, and it could have been moved further back (to keep it off of her shoulders), but overall, I don't mind that much.  I really like the images from this setup.


Here above is one of my favorite images from this sitting and my favorite from this setup.  I mentioned that Jessica fidgets, and when she got herself into this pose, with her hips cocked & her shoulders skewed, I had to ask her to freeze.  My experience is that when you ask a model to freeze, they rarely do or they freeze too late, but it worked out well in this case.  This was one of those rare circumstances when I knew, just knew, that I've made a superior image right there in the sitting -- usually, I have to wait & see what develops (literally).

More images from this setup.











If you take my advice & deconstruct/analyze lighting, this one will give you a good hint about the placement of the lights.  You can tell that it is behind Jessica because much of her face is still in shadow.  Again, that hair light is a bit bright, but I like how the hot spot on Jessica's left shoulder is bouncing back up to light her neck & chin.  Lots of good things are going on here. 





Okay, here's a visual quiz for those of you trying to deconstruct/analyze lighting -- what is different about this picture, compared to the other images on this page?  

There are less shadows across Jessica's figure, and the light is softer all around; further, there is no hot spot caused by the hair light (with the exception of the light on her hair, which is the point, after all).   

Next question:  how was this achieved?  I suppose it could have been achieved by making adjustments to all three lights, but the truth of the matter is that in her posing, Jessica has drifted slightly away from the camera & more directly into the light.  The challenge with small studio spaces is that just a little movement can make a dramatic difference in the lighting.

How did you do? 





One question for all of you:  what do you think about that beauty mark on Jessica's upper abdomen?  As far as I can tell, that's her only mark.  I suppose I could have done some digital manipulation to remove it, but it doesn't bother me at all.  Jessica is all natural -- no tattoos, no enhancements, and no body piercings.  In all these images, I get the sense (and I hope you get the sense) that we are looking at a real person, and not someone's imitation of someone else's ideal.  That mark shows that she is real. 

Some photographers go into their sitting with a specific image in mind, and all they do is produce that one image.  Some day, I can see myself doing that.  But my approach is that I have a handful of setups (setup = lighting + poses + props + backgrounds) in mind, and within the context of each setup, we experiment, trying different variations until we get a match.  

Eventually, I get the feeling that we are not making further progress within a specific setup, and at that time, I ask myself whether there's anything else we should try before we move on.  If the answer is "no", then the model gets to take a short break while I make changes to the setup. 

Jessica's sitting continues with the "Mirror Image" setup.


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