Monday, 23 April 2012

Experimenting with light

1. Dappled Light
As well as looking at the artist below when I used different photographic lighting, I studied the three portraits the author of the course used as examples on page 15. For the first photo soft sunlight provides a diffused glow to the person’s face, which makes it attractive in a subtle manner. Taken in the shade, the second picture, comparative to the first photo, has less contrast. I think this reflects the person’s downward demeanor. In the third photograph strong sunlight from a window highlights only part of the person’s face. This makes it more dramatic and his expression more striking.

2. Dappled Light Amended
   The source of lighting I thought of first for the lighting exercise was the soft, dappled light from the Sun shining through tree leaves in a wood. By taking a photograph in a wood I ascertained it would provide interesting shadows while not taking much away from the subject’s features.

3. Dappled Light with Silver Disc Reflector
   So I tested out my theory and thankfully found it was correct, although I after amending my first attempt slightly. This was because I felt the sunlight that did make it through the leaves was creating off-putting patches on the face when contrasted against the shadows on the face. For instance, with my first attempt there was a large patch of light around my model’s left eye and strong shadows, which were discernible as branches’ shadows, around that. I was much more pleased with the second shot because I thought the shadows and patches of sunlight were more consistent and subtle.

4. Shade
   I then took a similar setting (with dappled light shining through leaves and branches) but added a silver disc reflector to the lighting used. This made a drastic change to the look of the model. It made her look a lot more vibrant but also less natural in my opinion.

5. Shade Amended (In Shade but with Off-camera Flash)
   I then changed to a location where there was no sunlight catching the model’s face but there was still in plenty of daylight. I took a photograph and decided it was very natural and gentle but decided there needed to be a change. The change I made was to add a bit of off-camera flash lighting to the scene; in front of the model and from below camera level. This was to lift any shadows from under her face and to make the eyes stand out more, which I think I achieved.

6. Evening Sunlight
7. Evening Sunlight Amended (With Gold Disc Reflector)
   Then at evening time, just before the Sun went down, I took a shot of the model with the last of the Sun shining on her face. This provided a warm glow to the face, while still looking natural. I decided to add a gold reflector to the lighting of her to further bring out the warm glow. This time the reflector added to the warmness of her complexion without taking away from the naturalness of the portrait.

8. Photographic Lighting 1
9. Photographic Lighting 2
   Finally I used photographic lighting for the last two photographs. I based some of how I lighted the subject for the last two photographs in this exercise on photographs taken by Richard Avedon. Although Richard Avedon uses natural lighting in the photograph of Carl Dreyer, director, Copenhagen, April 8, 1958, I noticed the light falls in a certain way. The light catches the subject's face in the direction he's looking, which I think makes the subject look more attractive and very natural. I tried to recreate this using photographic lighting firstly and think I was successful and I will keep this in mind for future reference. I found Richard Avedon uses this method a couple more times in what I think is in an effective way. The examples he uses this are portraits of Jean Renoir, director, Beverley Hills, California, May 11, 1972 and Groucho Marx, actor, Beverley Hills, California, April 9, 1972, although the lighting I did not think was natural for these two.

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