Photography comes from two Greek words; 'photos' which means light and 'graphe' which means drawing.
Soft Light is light that comes diffused and scattered from a light source. The transition between light and dark is gradual (meaning you cannot see a hard line).
The images also show that soft light has a gradual and subtle edge.
Meaning, these have clearly defined lines between light and shadow.
These images have a gentle gradation between light and shadow so that the line is almost impossible to identify.
Overhead Light: Hard sunlight coming from above can often cause a raccoon effect, casting shadows under and in your subject's eyes. Shooting in direct sunlight is not typically flattering for this reason. Find ways to fill in shadows with bounce cards and fill lights. Also consider softening the light source to fill in those shadows.
Side Light: Hard side light can often make a person appear mysterious and distant because half of their face is blacked out in shadow. Use this type of lighting to your advantage when you need to add mystery. But, if you don't want to capture a 1940s drama then make sure to fill in that shadow with your fill light or bounce card.
Types of Lights
Light Stands: When you setup a light stand, it is critical that the legs are spread out far enough so the light is well balanced and stable. Make sure the spreader is parallel with the ground.
Adding the Light Fixture: Make sure that the light stand you're using is strong enough to hold the light. When you attach the power cable, make sure it fully reaches the ground and is not a tripping hazard. And, finally, when you add an umbrella keep it at least 2-feet away from the light or it may start to discolor and/or catch fire.
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Designing Your Lighting Setup
- Key Light - The brightest light source no matter where it is placed or how small it is
- Fill Light - Adds light to fill in shadows--the fill light controls the contrast ratio
- Back Light - Adds light to the back of the subject's head/shoulders to help them stand out
- Background Light - Shines on the background to give a sense of depth
Good lighting doesn't have to be complicated. If you are...
- in a hurry
- have limited space for your interview
- aren't able to transport many lights
This lighting setup is often used for formal interviews or high-end work. It gives a 3-dimensional shape to your subject and helps them stand out from the background.
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This is a video demonstration of the three main lights used in typical lighting setups. The gentlemen in the video turn each light on individually so that viewers can see the effect on the subject. It is important to understand the role that each light plays in building the overall scene.
Planning an Interview or Studio Setup
A lighting style where one light (the key light) is on one side of the subject while there are no lights on the opposite side of the subject--creating a strong shadow on the other side of the subject.
Rembrandt Lighting Setup
A lighting style named after the famous painter Rembrandt as he mastered lighting a small inverted triangle of light on the subject's cheek opposite from the light source. This can be achieved by placing the light above the subject and 45-degrees to one side..
A lighting style named as such because the light casts a shadow along the mouth that shaped like a butterfly. To achieve this, place a light directly above your subject at a 45-degree angle. Then hold a reflector underneath his/her chin to fill in the harsh shadow.
- Glasses: If your subject is wearing glasses then make sure you check to see if the lights are reflected in their glasses. This means that if you look through the camera you can see the lights in their eyes. To correct this, simply move the lights up about 2-feet above your subject's head and tilt the light down.
- Chair: Make sure your subject is in a stationary chair if you want them seated. If your subject begins to move around then the lighting on his or her face will appear drastically different throughout the shoot.
- Color Temperature: If you are photographing someone near a window then make sure to pull down the blinds, if possible. The blue light from the sun may contrast with your orange light coming from your lighting setup. Together the two will make for a strange effect on your subject's face.
Lowell Lighting Reference, http://lowel.tiffen.com/edu/components_interview.html
Easy Light Setup Improves Your Films, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVIbirzZn0M
Three point lighting graphic overhead, https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d8/3_point_lighting.svg/2000px-3_point_lighting.svg.png