# Light—Science & Magic- P5

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## Light—Science & Magic- P5

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## Nội dung Text: Light—Science & Magic- P5

1. LIGHT—SCIENCE & MAGIC 8.6 The key triangle extending from the eye, through the cheek, to the lip line is the starting point for good portrait lighting. face. (The extreme example of such “ﬂat” lighting comes from mounting a strobe directly on top of the camera.) Evaluating whether the lighting is too ﬂat can be difﬁcult for photographers who are just beginning to learn portrait lighting, especially if the picture will be printed in only black ink. Anticipating how color translates to shades of gray takes prac- tice. But the decision becomes simple when we see that such lighting also makes the key triangle so large that it is no longer a triangle. 188
2. AN ARSENAL OF LIGHTS 8.7 Flat lighting, far too uniform to show contour, is the result of placing the main light too near to the camera. We can usually improve such lighting by moving the light far- ther to the side and higher to reduce the size of the key triangle. To maximize contour, we move the light far enough to get the key triangle as small as possible but stop just short of moving it far enough to create either of the following two problems. Key Triangle Too Low: Main Light Too High Regardless of whether the eyes are the window to the soul, they are certainly essential to almost any portrait. Keeping the eyes of the subject in shadow can be unsettling to anyone looking at the portrait. Figure 8.8 illustrates this problem. Notice how the strong eye shadow eliminates the top of the key triangle and produces an unnatural and ghoulish picture. 189
3. LIGHT—SCIENCE & MAGIC This shadow is there because we positioned our light too high above the head of the subject. Fixing the problem simply means lowering the light a bit. Key Triangle Too Narrow: Main Light Too Far to Side Figure 8.9 illustrates still another potential problem. We positioned the light so that the nose casts a dark shadow across her cheek. This shadow blocks the key triangle. Once more the cure is simple. To avoid a shadow such as this one, all we have to do is move the light a bit more to the front. When we do this, the key triangle will reappear. 8.8 The unsettling “raccoon eyes” that we see here come from lifting the main light too high above the model’s face. 190
4. AN ARSENAL OF LIGHTS 8.9 The result of positioning the main light too far to one side. The nose of the model casts a shadow across her cheek, blocking the key highlight. Left Side? Right Side? Photographers generally prefer to put the main light on the same side as the subject’s dominant eye, or the eye that appears to be more open than the other. The greater the visible domi- nance of the eye, the more important it is that we light that side. Of course, some people have very symmetrical features; then it makes no difference on which side we put the main light. The other inﬂuence on our decision is where the person’s hair is parted. Lighting on the same side as the part prevents extraneous shadows, especially if the hair is long. 191
5. LIGHT—SCIENCE & MAGIC Some people absolutely insist that we photograph them from one side or the other. Very often we should listen to such opinions because they are based on that individual’s dominant eye or hair style, whether the person knows it or not. Just be sure that the subject has not confused his “good” side with his “bad” side when looking in a mirror! Broad Lighting or Short Lighting So far we have made all pictures with the model approximately facing the camera. Whether the light was on the right or the left would have made only a minor difference. However, the differ- ence is major if the subject turns his or her head to either 8.10 Putting the main light on the side opposite the visible (were it not covered by her hair) ear produces short lighting. 192
6. AN ARSENAL OF LIGHTS 8.11 Broad lighting means putting the main light on the same side as the visible ear. side. Where do we main light then? Figures 8.10 and 8.11 show the options. We either put the light on the same side as the subject’s visible ear or on the other side. A main light on the same side as the visible ear is called broad lighting. Positioning the main light on the side opposite from your subject’s visible ear produces short lighting. (Whether the hair covers the “visible” ear has nothing to do with which side of the face we are talking about.) If you look at Figures 8.10 and 8.11 again, the reason behind these two somewhat confusing names becomes apparent. First, look at the picture that we made with broad lighting. Notice that a broad, or wide, highlight runs from the back of the 193
7. LIGHT—SCIENCE & MAGIC model’s hair, across her cheek, all the way to the bridge of her nose. Now, look at the portrait that we made with short light- ing. This time the highlight is quite short, or narrow. The brightest part of it only extends from the side of the model’s cheek to her nose. There are no ﬁrm rules to dictate when to use broad and when to use short lighting. Our personal preference, however, leans decidedly to short lighting. It puts the light where it will do the most good, on the front of the face. This, we feel, produces by far the most interesting portraits. Other photographers have a completely different bias. They feel strongly that the short or broad light decision should be based on the subject’s body build. They prefer to use short lighting if their subject has a broad face. Such lighting, they argue, helps make the subject look thinner by putting much of the face in shadow. If, however, the subject is very thin, they like the way that broad lighting increases the amount of the image that is highlighted and makes the subject appear more substantial. Eyeglasses Eyeglasses sometimes dictate the position of the main light, regardless of the other preferences of the photographer. Figure 8.12 was shot with short lighting. Look at the resulting direct reﬂection from the glasses. It impossible to eliminate the glare with the light positioned as it was for this portrait. We could, of course, raise it, but depending on the size and shape of the glasses, by the time we get it high enough it might ﬁll the eye with shadow. Figure 8.13 shows the only solution that always works. It is the same subject shot with broad lighting. Changing from short to broad lighting positions the main light outside the family of angles that produces direct reﬂection. Problems with eyeglasses increase with the diameter of the eyeglass lenses. From any particular camera position, the fam- ily of angles that produces direct reﬂection is greater if the glasses have big lenses. If the subject has small eyeglass lenses, we can sometimes keep a short lighting arrangement by using a smaller main light. It is easier to position the smaller light so that no part of the light is within that family of angles. 194
8. AN ARSENAL OF LIGHTS 8.12 Short lighting produces an objectionable glare on the eyeglasses. Still life photographers exploring portraiture are sometimes tempted to use polarizing ﬁlters on the main light and on the camera lens to eliminate reﬂection from glasses. However, this can cause other problems. Human skin also produces a small amount of direct reﬂection. Consequently, eliminating all direct reﬂection in the highlights of a portrait may give the skin a lifeless appearance. ADDITIONAL LIGHTS Up to this point, we have shown some of the different ways to position and manipulate highlights and shadows using a single 195
9. LIGHT—SCIENCE & MAGIC 8.13 Broad lighting eliminates the glare problem. light source. These techniques are powerful because they pro- duce ﬁne work even if we have only one light at our disposal. Depending on taste, we may be satisﬁed with the results of a single light and proceed no further with the lighting, even if we have a whole studio full of strobes available. This should be reassuring to anyone not earning a professional income from photography and only able to afford to light a portrait with sunlight. Still, very few photographers shooting professional portraits use a single light, so this book will discuss what those other lights are and how to use them. 196