Full body lighting setup. Part 2

By Oleg Ti,   January 11, 2013,   Views: 7330,   Comments:

Original article by photographer Oleg Ti Studio photography lighting setup with softbox and reflectors



Let’s turn the softbox in our direction. We can see that the background becomes darker – the light from the softbox is now directed to the other side of the background. The model stays at the edge of the light spot and the light on her becomes slightly darker than in the original photo. However, it is clear that the style of light has not changed much on the model - it corresponds to the initial image. It can be seen that the distribution of the light becomes better on the model, the coverage of the light on the feet is not so very different from the top part of the model as you can see in the original picture.

It is easy to explain: the softbox has a gradient from top to bottom, but when we turn the key light away from the model’s face, “her” legs are still in the light beam, which is wider than the narrow part on “her” face level.

You will understand the geometry of light if you try to move light sources, noticing all the nuances of the light style, the light distribution, the beam, the shadows etc., and bring all this knowledge in to your practice. Then in your real work, you will be able to operate virtuosity with light and get the efficiency that you need.




Let’s return to the initial position of the softbox, but tilt it slightly downwards.

I often position the softbox like this, for many reasons.

The first reason is that I wish to illuminate the model with the most soft light I can get. Remember, the closer the light source, the more soft light we get. So I try to move the softbox as close as possible to the model, selecting a position where it distributes the light along the entire length of the body. I tilt the softbox down, and the model is no longer working in the field of the light spot but rather in the gradients that surround the spot of light. If we did it differently  and set the softbox perpendicular to the model, in order to illuminate the whole model, the softbox would have to be at a greater distance and the light would become a much harder and wider.

The second reason - my wish to keep the light source above eye level. So many photographers, seeing that the lower part of the model is not covered with light, begin to lower the soft box, but when the light falls below the eye level they get an ugly picture of the light on the face. It is very unusual that light coming from below would be flattering for a model. As I said, I try always to put a light source above eye level and I prefer to tilt the softbox downwards rather than lower it.

The third - the style of light on the model. In such a setting, I get a softer light on the face of the model, and more dramatic light on its middle and lower parts.

The fourth - the shadow in this style of lighting usually falls on the feet and does not go far to the background, spoiling the light pattern on it.




I tilt the softbox down and lower it a little bit. You can see that the light falling on the model covers the legs and it has the same intensity both on the chest and face.

I must say that I am much more comfortable with using a rail system, because it allows me to work with light with wider possibilities: changing it's position, tilting it to any angle and putting it over the head of a model.

However, I chose not to use the rail system here in order to demonstrate possibilities of lighting setups with the equipment that is available in every studio. Despite my desire to tilt the softbox as far down as possible, I was limited with the stand – the base of the softbox rests on it and does not give the possibility to tilt it any further down. So I stopped at the lowest possible position, resting one of the edges of the softbox on the stand.




I am still continuing to work with the position of the softbox. The height of the softbox is now very low. If I lowered the softbox below this point, I would get a situation where the model’s face would fall out of the light, and in most cases, as I said, we must ensure that the light source stays above the eye level of the model. Otherwise we would get a very unsightly picture.

Without changing the height of the soft box, I’m trying to achieve an effect where the light is evenly distributed on the model as much as possible, and secondly, illuminate the background as little as possible. I usually use a type of lighting that doesn’t affect the background. I will work with the background later, putting additional light sources on it but for now we have to ensure that the background is out of our light range.

Using the softbox in this position, as presented in the picture, I have enough soft light on the model and an almost black background that is now suitable for any lighting.




The background on the previous photo was still slightly lit by the soft box, so I have to introduce new equipment in the lighting setup – the black flag.

I must say that a skilful handling of such accessories like flags, scrims and frames distinguishes advanced photographers from amateurs just beginning their careers. The presence of a wide range of flags etc. allow every advanced photographer to get full control over lighting equipment - to darken some parts of the lighting scene, form the beam shape, lower the power of light, close the camera lens from lighting sources – all these things I do with flags. So if you want to make a big step in photography you should learn to work with all pieces of equipment that are presented in the studio, which will give you new ways to work with light.

But let’s look at the picture. I have put this black flag near the back side of the softbox. It removes only the light from the softbox which goes to the background, it is not altering the light on the model. The flag is set up in such a way to be behind the scene, and is placed very near the softbox so that there won't be any hard shadows in the picture. When we move the flag from the softbox, the light and shadows from it become harder and more noticeable. So the best solution is to keep it as close to the lighting source as you can.

I found a position to place the flag where it reduced only the light shining on the background, and I got the light strip at the level of the model’s feet, stretching from the left to the right hand side of the picture. Although if I decided that I wanted to remove this line, I could do it without touching the light on the model.


Others parts of this tutorial:

The first part of this tutorial is here: Full Body Lighting Scheme. Part 1

The third part of this tutorial is here: Full Body Lighting Scheme. Part 3 

The fourth part of this tutorial is here: Full Body Lighting Scheme. Part 4



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