Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Trade Tricks: Hot, Cool And Continuous
Studio lighting the easy way
Incredibly easy to use, the Lowel Ego lights incorporate a white, plastic, diffusion material, which renders a soft light that falls evenly on your subject and is great to use when photographing reflective items. Objects like glass vases or tin toys can be hard to light due to the inevitable hot spots that you get when light hits those surfaces, but the light quality combined with the Ego's diffusion material puts that problem to rest.
Fluorescent constant lights like these also generate enough of an output for head and shoulder portraits and are extremely portable, as they don't heat up and can be packed away quickly after use.
The Setup. I photographed this china doll using the Lowel Egos. First, I set my digital SLR to daylight white balance. To achieve dramatic lighting, I angled the lights inward to light up just the sides of the doll and a bit of the background. If you don't have two lights, use a white card or a bounce reflector for fill.
Although I liked the lighting ratio, the doll's face needed a bit more illumination, so I incorporated a third light. With an SP Studio Systems Flood Light (a tungsten light source), I used a blue BCA PhotoFlood Lamp (to match the color balance of the Lowel Egos) and directed it toward the top of the doll.
This light has a round reflector that can concentrate the light and possibly overpower the Egos, but by placing it at the right distance, it filled in the shadow areas of the doll's face. With the Lowel Egos set on either side, I captured some soft highlights to give the image a sense of depth.
These compositions took very little time to set up and photograph. And because the lights are so compact, safe and easy to use, a desk or kitchen table is suitable for this work, eliminating the need for a big studio.
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