<<< o >>>lighting diary #4 19 comments + add yours

This is the shot I mentioned when I posted my previous entry, shot using a HonlPhoto 1/8 Speed Grid. I'm not entirely convinced it's a great success, but it did teach me an important lesson: using a hard light source is a lot more difficult than using a soft light. The biggest problems are that a) it's directional (obviously), and b) it's very harsh. I think that I'll need a lot more practice before this is a technique I become comfortable with.

Anyway, as I mentioned above, I'm really not sure about this one, so any constructive feedback would be gratefully received.

On a related matter: as many of you know, I often post the original image in addition to my post-processed version. In the past I've linked through to the original from within this comments box, but this was never an especially elegant solution. So, from now on, when I post an original image you'll be able to view it directly from the main image page by hovering your mouse over the 'show the original image' link (beneath the image). I've added this link to the last few images I've posted, and may alter some of my older entries too.

focal length
shutter speed
shooting mode
exposure bias
metering mode
image quality
RAW converter
1.45pm on 2/4/10
Canon 5D Mark II
EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM
580 EX II (1/4 power)
1x1 + children [portraits] + lighting diary + show the original
comment by Michael at 04:24 PM (GMT) on 5 April, 2010

I really like the directional light, David. It directs the viewer to the subject. Great job (as always)

comment by Dan Kaufman at 05:37 PM (GMT) on 5 April, 2010

I like the mouse-over to the original, and especially that the original and final are the same size (versus the smaller sizing of the original in the previous version.) And too, I kinda like the new black background, but I'm not sure black-black is best for all images. Perhaps a 3/4 gray.

As for this shot, I feel you over accentuated the harshness of the hard-light in your post-processing. The light feels hard and bright like she's a suspect being grilled by the cops.

comment by Mark at 05:47 PM (GMT) on 5 April, 2010

I think it works very well as it is on several levels. It certainly portrays a very specific feel to the image and subject.

Also the new "show original" link is awesome thanks!

comment by lukasz kruk at 06:13 PM (GMT) on 5 April, 2010

dan's comment gets my impression too - the light might be nice, but doesn't fit the subject really. i'd say try lowering the contrast between lit and unlit parts of the face (add a bit of fill light or let in some more ambient while lowering flash output) - but that's just because you asked ;)

comment by LightningPaul at 06:19 PM (GMT) on 5 April, 2010

Nice try! Though the contrast are rather high in the face, especially for such a young girl.

You can use it for lighting males, especially to amplify the structure of the chest muscles.

I use the Honl snoots and grids mainly for back lighting the hair or as a kicker to light up the cheeks; while lighting the face with soft(er) light. It really adds depth to your portraits.

Have lots of lighting fun :-)

comment by Catalin at 08:14 PM (GMT) on 5 April, 2010

I'm no expert at lighting, but I feel the light is just a bit too strong on her face and for me the sort of soft focus look doesn't really work with the hard light. However, I really admire the fact that you're posting these shots and try and learn, while teaching at the same time.

comment by djib at 12:04 AM (GMT) on 6 April, 2010

Wow, it's great to be able to see the original pictures! Thanks for the links.

comment by Carlos Garcia at 12:20 AM (GMT) on 6 April, 2010


Way cool before and after link. I love the processed image. The lighting has a stark "cinematic" quality that I like. Love the tones.


comment by Simon Jenkins at 02:32 AM (GMT) on 6 April, 2010

I really like the shot, i think that light is a little strong, i am in no way comfortable offering you advice as i am a "huge admirer" of your work but a little recovery in Lightroom improved the image for my taste.

comment by Padraig at 08:24 AM (GMT) on 6 April, 2010

I absolutely love the new see original image feature...many thanks for that

comment by Keir Ayres at 11:29 AM (GMT) on 6 April, 2010

"Constructive criticism" would be an oxymoron

comment by April Pinsonneault at 04:07 AM (GMT) on 7 April, 2010

I love the overall purple hue and the hard light. I don't feel she looks "interrogated" but rather "caught" in a private and sultry moment. You said that you are unsure of the hard light but it is totally amped in the post process..."the man doth protest too much". Meanwhile; I love this. I vote yes.

comment by Enoch kim at 04:59 AM (GMT) on 7 April, 2010

love your portrait!!

comment by E y e V i s i o n at 08:57 PM (GMT) on 7 April, 2010

I like how it turned out. Two things which are a bit distracting:
-the shadow of that little mop of her hair crossing her eye and the lack of catchlight. Otherwise I like the lighting.

comment by Mohamed at 03:31 PM (GMT) on 8 April, 2010

Great PP as usual. The way I'll shoot this, is to shoot the dark side (right) to get more dramatic look.

comment by Jem at 06:43 PM (GMT) on 8 April, 2010

Loving the 'show original image' link you've added. It makes me 'coo' :>

comment by Tom at 12:33 PM (GMT) on 9 April, 2010

Love the light and the colours.

I love the ability to see the unprocessed version too. That's really helpful in learning how you achieve what you do, so thanks for that. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to work in Google Chrome on a Mac (none of the links at the bottom do, actually). Just checked and it works in Firefox. Strange.

comment by Geoff at 11:06 AM (GMT) on 11 April, 2010

David, I think the processing makes the lighting look way too stark and harsh. There's much more detail and softness in her skin on the original.

comment by Mo at 05:12 PM (GMT) on 27 April, 2010

I love this image. Do any of the tutorials show you how to achieve this? I do love the way you are now showing the before image.