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FiveRings
08-19-2010, 01:12 PM
As suggested, I think it would be helpful to have a thread where we show and/or dissect the lighting of a photo. Lighting is one of the most important aspects of photography. Once you realize that photography is the art of capturing light, you'll begin to see things differently.

For this thread, I think we can try linking to someone's photo and then dissecting how it's lit. Or if it's someone that happens to be on this forum, you can link to their photo and ask how they did the lighting. Or you can post your own photo and explain how it was lit. (Not sure which is the best method yet.) If it is NOT your photo, please link to it only. Do not repost/attach it.

Feel free to use my galleries to start or link any photo you find anywhere, preferably cosplay, but not required.

jaskalkat
08-19-2010, 03:23 PM
I like this idea, I would love to see some photos and critique lighting theory on them :) Also I was thinking about doing a photo style video portrait of some cosplayers. Lit well etc. Dont know if anyone would be interested.

brucer007
08-19-2010, 03:23 PM
I agree, an important part of photography is the art of lighting. Sometimes it is finding natural light, other times it is using lighting enhancers, or completely controlled lighting.

I think it would be good to allow all of FiveRings' concepts in his 2nd paragraph, rather than limiting it to choosing one. Then we can all participate.


http://www.cosplay.com/photo/2133670/
This image was lit by placing a flash/umbrella/light-stand off to frame left, about 45 degrees, to light the faces and bodies of both cosplayers. A second flash was hand-held by one of her friends. This second light sculpted her mid-torso, and gave more shape to both legs and arms through rim-lighting.

This was all mixed with ambient light, using a moderate shutter speed, 1/60th of a second, at aperture 5.6, using ISO 200. The main light was about 15feet from the mains subject, about 2 feet above eye-level. The slave light was about 20 feet behind her, 5 feet above the ground. The blue and amber colors in the background were greatly enhanced in Photoshop.

The reflection of the gun-fire (muzzle flash) on the tip of the gun was created in Photoshop. Her fingers holding the gun were also brightened in Photoshop, since they appear so close to the muzzle flash.

P.S. I wish I could post images so they just show up without having to click on a link, but I have yet to make this function work. It could be an incompatibility issue with my computer, the browser, or me doing it incorrectly. Any tips would be appreciated.

http://www.cosplay.com/photo/2133670/

FiveRings
08-19-2010, 04:57 PM
Thanks for starting us off, Bruce. Can you add things like focal length used and flash power settings if you happen to remember them? An actual visual diagram would be good too if you could mock one up in mspaint real quick. As much info as you can provide. (flash height, umbrella/reflector size, distances, etc.)

jaskalkat
08-19-2010, 06:49 PM
Great photo! subject in the back could use some rim, but that was probably one of the limitations of this photo's location....tough to get a rim back there. i like the separation the subjects have from the background.

brucer007
08-19-2010, 09:38 PM
Thanks jaskalkat.

Some rim-lighting on the woman further from the camera would have added more texture and dimension, but it was not a limitation of the location. There was plenty of space. I only brought one slave flash and one light stand, so it was equipment limitations. It is great when there is someone there that does not mind helping out to hold a flash or reflector, etc. I consider the woman closer to the camera to be the main subject, so the more enhanced lighting is justified to be only on her, letting the other woman be more of a supporting player.

peiqinglong
08-20-2010, 07:01 PM
Bruce always has amazing photos!

I love lighting, being a huge Strobist-fan, I'll throw in as well.

For this photoshoot at the beach, the only flash I had on me that day wasn't working, so I had to resort to using natural light. Taking a quick peek to determine which angle would best cast a nice light that would also give the cosplayers some shadows for dimension as well as have the beach in the background, I set them up and fired off a few shots.

http://photos.buiphotography.com/Proofs/kingdom-hearts-cosplay-shoot/20100723-Kingdom-Hearts-II/949031421_58wRr-M.jpg

I did have a reflector, but the angle of the light worked perfectly that I didn't need it.

Focal length: 50mm prime
Aperture: f/8
Shutter: 1/640th
Exposure comp: -1/3 to darken the sky
Aperture priority mode
See this image larger as well as many other photos of this shoot here (http://photos.buiphotography.com/Proofs/kingdom-hearts-cosplay-shoot/13092947_S6MJa#949012847_HAgBn).

Now on the other hand, the shot below was taken in a somewhat dark area with all the trees. There was some nice light in the background and I wanted to light my main subject, bekalou (http://www.cosplay.com/member/74840/), to be nicely lit, but mimicking sunlight. I used 1 bare-bulb Speedlite, camera-right pointed at bekalou to light her, set at 1/4 power. Now Catlin, who is slumped over on the floor was originally in complete darkness, so I had to put a second Speedlite camera-left, 45 degrees shooting directly at her. I purposely lowed the power to 1/8 so that you can see she's there, but not be distracted by her presence. This is one of the importance of lighting, it's not just about throwing lights at your subject to merely light them, but to use light to shape the scene. You can also see how the trees are somewhat lit as well. I purposely let some light spill on the trees so you can get a sense of location.

http://photos.buiphotography.com/Events/2010-Norcal-Summer-Gathering/2010-Norcal-Summer-Gathering/20100619-Tsubasa-Reservoir/913759498_efcyH-M.jpg

Focal length: 80mm (70-200mm lens)
Aperture: f/8
Shutter: 1/30th
Exposure comp: 0
Manual mode
See this image larger as well as many other photos of this shoot here (http://photos.buiphotography.com/Events/2010-Norcal-Summer-Gathering/2010-Norcal-Summer-Gathering/12698037_QiVk7#913706731_Ty4mK).

Blasteh
08-23-2010, 03:33 PM
http://photos.buiphotography.com/Events/2010-Norcal-Summer-Gathering/2010-Norcal-Summer-Gathering/20100619-Tsubasa-Reservoir/913759498_efcyH-M.jpg


Amazingly subtle use of strobes, I wouldn't have noticed if you didn't mention it!

p.s. I can't believe you added lens flare to the otherwise great photo..

Eriol
08-23-2010, 05:01 PM
http://photos.buiphotography.com/Proofs/kingdom-hearts-cosplay-shoot/20100723-Kingdom-Hearts-II/949031421_58wRr-M.jpg

This image looks like it had Photoshop modifications applied to it. Was that the actual lighting situation?

You have another photo of that couple that looks like the actual lighting situation.
http://photos.buiphotography.com/Proofs/kingdom-hearts-cosplay-shoot/13092947_S6MJa#949022759_ANEDk

peiqinglong
08-23-2010, 05:09 PM
This image looks like it had Photoshop modifications applied to it. Was that the actual lighting situation?

You have another photo of that couple that looks like the actual lighting situation.
http://photos.buiphotography.com/Proofs/kingdom-hearts-cosplay-shoot/13092947_S6MJa#949022759_ANEDk

You're close, this is the actual image:

http://photos.buiphotography.com/Proofs/kingdom-hearts-cosplay-shoot/20100723-Kingdom-Hearts-II/949025489_ynxCd-M.jpg

I tend to like to add textures to my images. I didn't really mess with the lighting on the subjects, as you can see between the "normal" shot versus my edit.

peiqinglong
08-23-2010, 05:11 PM
Amazingly subtle use of strobes, I wouldn't have noticed if you didn't mention it!

p.s. I can't believe you added lens flare to the otherwise great photo..

Thank you! I've learned, sometimes that's all it takes.

I know, I felt the photo needed a lens flare, lol. You can see the original shot here:

http://photos.buiphotography.com/Proofs/kingdom-hearts-cosplay-shoot/20100723-Kingdom-Hearts-II/949025489_ynxCd-M.jpg

Just seems plain and boring. I wanted to make it feel more fantasy-like.

Eriol
08-23-2010, 09:40 PM
You're close, this is the actual image:

http://photos.buiphotography.com/Proofs/kingdom-hearts-cosplay-shoot/20100723-Kingdom-Hearts-II/949025489_ynxCd-M.jpg

I tend to like to add textures to my images. I didn't really mess with the lighting on the subjects, as you can see between the "normal" shot versus my edit.

Thanks for pointing out the unmodified version. I don't object to people adding effects, but the effects sometimes obscure what the original lighting was. It's the original lighting that is useful to learn from.

peiqinglong
08-23-2010, 10:27 PM
Thanks for pointing out the unmodified version. I don't object to people adding effects, but the effects sometimes obscure what the original lighting was. It's the original lighting that is useful to learn from.

Excellent point!

nachan
09-07-2010, 03:10 PM
Majorly beginner photographer here! Just wanted to drop by and say that this thread is so eye-opening and helpful! It can be frustrating for beginners to just hear "get out there and shoot!" all the time, when there are so many nuances of photography that just practice won't teach you. Of course, practice is the most important step to becoming good at anything, but just shooting and shooting won't necessarily produce the kinds of shots I want (like the ones above with dynamic lighting), and won't teach me about the existence, function, and impact of a strobe or umbrella or other kind of flash.

Thank you for filling in that blank spot so I don't just go out and get frustrated! Lighting seems like it can be such a subtle art.. I can definitely see myself looking at a picture like peiqinglong's forest one without realizing there was any artificial lighting involved, and then wondering why I can't get the same effect myself in the middle of the woods!

I would love to see some more of these! It would also be really cool to see a side-by-side comparison of one shot using only natural lighting, to its full potential in the situation, and another similar or identical shot utilizing artificial lighting, either to add a dynamic effect or just to enhance the photo and mimic natural lighting.

peiqinglong
09-09-2010, 01:51 AM
Majorly beginner photographer here! Just wanted to drop by and say that this thread is so eye-opening and helpful! It can be frustrating for beginners to just hear "get out there and shoot!" all the time, when there are so many nuances of photography that just practice won't teach you. Of course, practice is the most important step to becoming good at anything, but just shooting and shooting won't necessarily produce the kinds of shots I want (like the ones above with dynamic lighting), and won't teach me about the existence, function, and impact of a strobe or umbrella or other kind of flash.

Thank you for filling in that blank spot so I don't just go out and get frustrated! Lighting seems like it can be such a subtle art.. I can definitely see myself looking at a picture like peiqinglong's forest one without realizing there was any artificial lighting involved, and then wondering why I can't get the same effect myself in the middle of the woods!


No problem! Glad to be of some help! But yes, you knocked it right on: lighting can be a subtle art.


I would love to see some more of these! It would also be really cool to see a side-by-side comparison of one shot using only natural lighting, to its full potential in the situation, and another similar or identical shot utilizing artificial lighting, either to add a dynamic effect or just to enhance the photo and mimic natural lighting.

My next shoot, I'll try to keep this in mind and try to do that. I generally shoot with lights more often than not, I'm not much of an ambient shooter.

Elemental
09-13-2010, 10:27 PM
Ok. Have some very ghetto lighting diagrams.

Standard harsh lighting setup.
Http://elemental-photography.net/gallery/albums/Fanexpo2010/Empowered/lighting2.jpg
Shots like this I usually bring up some of the shadows in post, a feat I adore Lightroom for.

Http://elemental-photography.net/gallery/albums/Fanexpo2010/Empowered/Lighting1.jpg
Vignette also added in post. I paid special attention to position the flashes so that there would be little spill of light from the gridded flash, and so that the shadow cast by the left flash would fall forward and into the right corner of the frame.

Http://elemental-photography.net/gallery/albums/Fanexpo2010/Empowered/lighting3.jpg
I often 'wrap' someone with flashes against a wall for standard portraits. You can make them harsh and dark or light and pretty, depending on your subject and ambient mix.

And that's all for now. I've been meaning to do these for a while, but i often forget what I did at a con unless the shoot was particularly memorable, so these are straight from Fanexpo, and fresh in my mind. Hope they give some ideas~

ZiggyB
09-14-2010, 12:13 AM
Ok, I'll bite, This was from AX 2009, one of my favorite shots too. Not a lot of 'shop or anything, just good use of the location and lighting. Minor color correcting in LR. And no, the flare was not photoshopped, actually got that from the way the flash Dez was holding hit the camera.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3638/3689168145_8a53e77dd5.jpg

A test shot to show the lighting involved:

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2548/3689166791_7c984d1ffb.jpg

One 540EZ Canon Speedlite on a light stand to camera right.
Dez holding another 540EZ Canon Speedlite with a amber gel pointed straight at the camera to purposely cause flare.

Once I got the test shot the way I wanted, I cranked up the f stop until only the light from the flash was lighting him up, and all the distracting people in the convention center disappeared.

I love the fact that I can make one cosplayer look like he's alone at a crowded anime con. Though I have to say, it was almost impossible to do last year, since AX got so much more crowded. :(

Blasteh
09-15-2010, 10:09 PM
Great set-up Ziggy

Elemental: I think it would be easier to see what's going on with a top down view. Using something like this would make things clearer http://www.lightingdiagrams.com/Creator

Blasteh
09-15-2010, 10:15 PM
http://fc01.deviantart.net/fs71/i/2010/235/2/a/Silent_Hill_I_by_Blasteh.jpg (http://fav.me/d2x47wj)


http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4095/4908565299_56a043e5e2_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/blasteh/4908565299/)
2010_08_13_020395 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/blasteh/4908565299/) by Blastuk (http://www.flickr.com/people/blasteh/), on Flickr

Umbrella camera left, bare strobe behind models back right.

kumi-kun
10-04-2010, 04:37 PM
Thanks for the all info! This thread was quite useful : )

winterwish
10-17-2010, 09:22 PM
I usually do 1-2 light situations.

Below is mostly shot in F2.8/200.
I don't remember the exact settings, but no higher than 1/2 for front, backlit may be up to full power.
vignette is applied if you see darkened corners.

http://winterwish.net/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=7399
http://winterwish.net/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=5822
here I used a 550EX right behind (no diffuser) model such that the center burst hits the back to prevent lens flare , and a 580EX with shoot-through umbrella in front distanced a bit away.

http://winterwish.net/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=4538
550EX with a whaletail to the left the model at a lower position to capture the detail the costume but obscure the face.

http://winterwish.net/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=2058
an really old one, but 2 flashes diffused with lightspheres in front. I didn't really notice the cross double shadow later and I never really used this setup again due to my dislike of the effect.

http://winterwish.net/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=2334
http://winterwish.net/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=3307
the light is on one side of the cosplayer, and the angle determines how much is lit.
If the light&shadow looks harsher, it was done with whaletail/no diffuser instead of a umbrella

Hope that helped!

shibuya
10-20-2010, 04:18 PM
http://i855.photobucket.com/albums/ab119/av-to/norcal%20summer%20picnic%202010/_MG_7356-1.jpg

a fairly simple setup. alienbee sb800 + large softbox @ 50% output at ~45 degrees from the back shooting through the cosplayer's fan for further diffusion + ex580m2 and small softbox at ~45 degrees @ 1/32 from front to light up face. no post-processing. canon 70-200/4is

Roboman
10-24-2010, 07:30 PM
http://joacimschwartz.carbonmade.com/projects/2746238#1

Shoot with a single SB600 speedlight with a homemade snoot at a high level pointed at the models. Minor adjustment in photoshop such as color (greenish/bluish) and sharpening using High pass.

naruto_kh_fan
06-03-2011, 10:04 PM
How very useful! :D