Sunday, 25 May 2014

Using Any Light source

What light source do you prefer to use? 

They're many light sources we can use as a photographer, some of these methods can be implemented  outdoors too, especially if you are shooting with a crew or other students.  This list can be used for all situations and they can be combined too. 

If say for example your a street photographer and you have been asked to shoot a friend or family members wedding or particular event and they want to mark that event with a series of shots, what do you go for?

You can be as creative as you want; take a look at this example: natural light source. The higher perspective ensures the shadow created by the natural light is equal to the subject standing vertically it is perpendicular to the subject and so a shadow is cast as a right angle. 

The shadow side of the person is the defining side and also the slimming side, so when shooting a model against window light, turn the body away and turn the face toward the light. The model female or male will automatically look slimmer by definition by playing 'with' the light and the shadow.

So you can imagine how the model would look if he or she were facing the window the light would fill the features on the face or torso and make the shape look fuller, so by turning the subject slightly away from the light and turning face back slightly you emphasise more definition.

I have compiled the list for you below, what I will do is make a shot list from this list and show these examples for you to learn from along with corresponding lighting diagram.

The list:

  • Artificial Light } Off/On Camera flash / LED / Candle Light / Head-torch etc
  • Back Light } Continuous Light / Sunlight / Car Headlights 
  • Candle Light
  • Continuous Light
  • LED } Video / Bicycle Lights / Car Headlights 
  • Off Camera Flash
  • On Camera Flash 
  • Open Shade
  • Sunlight / Natural Light
  • Translucent / Reflectors Diffusers
  • Video Light
  • Window Light  
So we can see that they're many light sources for photography in a studio which could be set up for indoor or outdoor use. Question is which suits your style of photography best, well if you're a street photographer than you could play with the shadows under bridges, or high rise buildings. Street photographers will make the best use of the light they have which is in abundance, the light from the sun. 

Ray K. Metzker Bus Station, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1971.
©Ray K. Metzker
Another aspect to this is the fact that at different times of the day, the sun will give greater shadows at certain points, so you could shoot in the style of Harry Callahan or Ray K. Metzker.  Here is a shot from Ray K. Metzker to give you an idea of what he could do with the light he had. It's pretty awesome when you realise this is street photography, no soft box or off camera flash here. 

So what about shooting outdoors with an off camera flash? Well we know of a couple of photographers who do just that, one Bruce Gilden is a definite who almost exclusively captures the unique perspective of people in everyday places, 
particularly on the streets of New York. 
Another photographer is British born Dougie Wallace, a prolific photographer who enjoys getting up just as close as Gilden to his subjects, though to be honest Glasweegee , as he is also known loves capturing the characteristics of his subjects with vibrant colour and also at night. This unique take on urban life, is at first startling to the relative newcomer, however when one looks closer, you begin to see those subtle hints at what makes us human. 

We begin to see ourselves in a new light, and talking of light we should look at ourselves under studio light. After all, that is the sole topic of this post to look at varying light sources.  Let us look at a light source such as a redhead, or continous light source. Redhead so called because that is the light that the head is actually red. Where as a blonde is so called because of the yellowish light it emits, blondes are generally more powerful as much as 2000 watts, the bigger sister if you will. 

You can create many styles of portraiture using both lights, the only piece that will need regular maintenance is the buld itself, and the fuse. The downside to using these incandescent lights is the fact that they do get HOT! So hot that it can be a hindrance, to working with them for too long a time period. So the alternative is flourescent lights, a cooler light and so too is the light that is emitted from them. 

Fluorescent lights have the big advantage over incandescents of not being significantly hot.  Modern fluorescents can be purchased with bulbs which match either incandescent light or daylight.  Since most units have at least 2 bulbs and often more, the loss of a bulb doesn’t necessarily put it out of action.  A 220W fluorescent (which is claimed to be the equivalent of a 100W incandescent) costs in the area of £500. 

©David Rothwell Photography
All Rights Reserved
This image was captured just using a single light source I iused a redhead on this shot, I was for intents and purposes recreating a similar style to that of the late photographer Herb Ritts Okay my subject has a top hat, of sorts and the photograph of the actor Jim Carrey in Herb Ritts photograph is not wearing a hat at all. 

What this photograph says is that the personality of the individual is shining through onto lens. I like using redheads though because they're extremely portable, they are great lights to work with. 

They can produce a strong bright light to create a strong shadow such as the one in this example if only using a single light. 

I will be posting on this subject more on using light, but before I do go one resource on the net, which is synonymous with the subject and one source I follow myself is Strobist.

Until the next time