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Exploring Low-Key Portraiture

Lesson 4 of 15

Lighting Patterns

 

Exploring Low-Key Portraiture

Lesson 4 of 15

Lighting Patterns

 

Lesson Info

Lighting Patterns

All right. So we're gonna talk about lighting patterns now for this. We're gonna keep this pretty simple. I'm not gonna get into a tremendous amount of depth on lighting patterns. It's more just as a way to communicate the idea. Remember, knowing these lighting patterns does not necessarily mean that you are amazing photographer. They just mean you know what the name is. So it just becomes a way that we can articulate the language a little bit more, more easily, and so that we're all on on the same page. And so the four lighting patterns that we're gonna be addressing our broad loop, Rembrandt and split and the two additional ways we're gonna be describing those are using the terms broad light and short light in broad light in short light. Allow us to, um, explain broad loop. Rembrandt split a little bit more. Maybe. Maybe not broad so much, But what? We'll talk a little bit more about this in just a second. Now for this, I'm just gonna grab my Octa bots. I'm gonna have him face the fr...

ont, and I'm gonna bring in the octo box and we're gonna We're gonna basically show you all of these different lighting patterns? Um, no, thank you. We went through all these different lighting patterns as we move it around. Now it's important to remember that these patterns, the way we describe these patterns, have nothing to do with this. They have very little to do with this. They have very little to do directly with the position of his face. What we're actually talking about when we say broad loop, Rembrandt and Split is the lighting pattern on his face. Specifically, if he's turned front to the camera, we can have all of these. If he's turned to the side, we can have all of these. It's on Lee about what's happening here, not about my angle. In my perspective, you can also get these lights with Actually, let's let's let's make this a little bit easier so we can see it. Can we just take the octo off? You can actually just use the bare head. That would make it a little bit easier to see. It doesn't matter if you are using a soft modifier or no modifier, you can get these patterns from a variety of different tools. It doesn't matter if you're using 20 lights or one light. It's all about what the main light is doing on the subject's face. So if I've got a light here on a light here on late here on a light here, I have one light. Most likely that's the brightest one. That's the main light. That's what we're talking about. That's what's dictating the overall look and feel of what we're doing time. So what we're gonna do is we're gonna start off with, um, a few different setups and we're just gonna keep him to the front, and we're gonna visually articulate what we're doing. So the 1st 1 that we're gonna we're gonna dio is Paramount Light. Paramount Light is when the light is straight to the front, right over his face. And what that does is that creates a little shadow under the nose. It's also called butterfly lighting because of the shape of the shadow under the nose. Paramount light eyes called that because the old Paramount movie studios used to use it on all of their their actors and actresses on. So what that does is it's a very flat light to the face now, whether he is the front. Whether he is to the side, it's all about if that light is where his face is pointed. So what we're gonna do is we're gonna put this right here, and it's gonna be really flat right here at the moment, right? When? When Paramount light is shot to the front, it's usually very flat light. Okay, lets see. All right. Can we gonna meet her on that, please? 7.1 great chin down. Just a little bit for me, please. There you go. And turn your face a little bit more to May to me, please. A little bit less perfect. Okay, So the reason I'm going with the hard light is just so that it makes it a little bit easier for us to see the harshness of the shadow. And it makes it a little bit easier to read. It's a little bit off. Do me a favor. Turn turn to the front for me, please. Just make that nice and nice and even great, and then turn your face just a little bit. Perfect. Okay, so I moved him just a little bit, but you can see that that light is right under his nose right under his chins, a little bit easier to see when he's turned straight to camera. This is paramount. It's very, very flat. Not really a whole lot of drama here, Not really a whole lot of dark shadow tones, because, right, we've got a lot of light. Now, if we were to move this to the side, one side or the other, we're still getting paramount. But probably the more important part of Paramount Light is actually going to be the vertical axis. At the moment, it's relatively close to the plane of the camera, so you're almost getting something that feels like an on camera flash aesthetic. The more it goes, the higher it goes up. You'll notice how that shadow starts to go a little bit. To go darker under the chin becomes a little bit longer. And if you go really high on it, you end up getting this sculling effect under the eyes. Can I get one more meter, please? Nine. Okay. And so the higher it goes, the more shadows you introduce, the more dramatic it becomes. Drama is all about the shadow, right? So if we were to take this and we were Teoh. Move him. You can kind of see them two side by side. If you were to take this and you're to move into the side, you get more drama on the side of the face again, More shadow, more drama so forth and so on. Okay, now it's all largely relative here. So if I moved the light, it's gonna change the lighting pattern. If I move his face, it's going to change the lighting pattern. So these are things that we have to keep in mind as we start changing the light. Okay. So as we start to move the light a little bit off to the side and we can also be lowered a little bit, but going turn that a little bit more to the sign. Just a little bit. Bring it over. Okay, Great. That's good. Too much great. And I'm just going to get a meter on that. Please. I'm a big user of the meter. I like the meter a lot. I know. I know a lot of people definitely like to light for feel, which is which is fine, but I always think that especially when learning and when teaching the meter allows us to go right to where it needs to be right off the gate. And so so I definitely prefer that as a way to go. Now, this next one that we're gonna be doing is called oop and loop. Is this tiny little loop shadow, right? Next, the notes similar to Paramount. You have just a little bit more off to the side. You know, it's not all the way to the side. It's just a little bit. And it looks like this Jim down a little bit for me, please. A little bit more of the light. Just a little bit. There you go. Great. Okay. And so here is Okay. You can Sanusi, that little shadow off to the side goes in. Either direction doesn't actually matter, but that's that. That's that's your loop. Now, as we continue moving this around that loop shadow, that's great. I'm bringing back a little bit for me. Please. Perfect. That loop shadow ends up meeting the cheek shadow. You get this triangle of light on the unlit side of the face. This is what I mean by the unlit side of the face. This is where the lights coming from. This is not triangle of light on the unlit side of the face. This is known as Rembrandt. Rembrandt, like this comes from the old Dutch painter Rembrandt, who utilized a similar lighting pattern and a lot of his portrait work. He was not the 1st 1 to do it, but he did it quite a bit. And so I'm a big fan of Rembrandt. And that's kind of why I pull a lot from paintings for my own personal work. I like I like the Rembrandt light and creating that light with with painting with light in the modern studio. So this is gonna be Rembrandt light. You can kind of see turn just a little bit for me, please. Little bit less. Now, I use this trick a lot of just a little slight movement because sometimes that's a whole lot easier. Then moving the light, you can move the light, you can move the head. You can move this in conjunction, right? Depending upon the angle you want. If you have all your lights in place, sometimes this is a lot easier. Right? So this is the Rembrandt, and you can see the there We go. It's now closed in right there. My Now what? You have to be careful of when you're using on. I love this. I use this pattern quite a bit. What you got to be careful of is there is a little point at which you get a little bit of light right here on the unlit side of the face. Let's see if we can duplicate it a little bit, turned back to the light a little bit. There you go. That's great. And what ends up happening, it's kind of distracting when this isn't closed in, gets a little bit weird. Commit. Make a decision. Cohen, where the other go. Luego Rembrandt. It just it's It's a weird little thing, and so it just it draws attention because we look a contrast. We don't necessarily want to draw attention to that, and so I definitely will always say Go here. And sometimes it just little head shift. Or sometimes it's about raising the light a little bit higher. Can you be a favor? Can you bring it down a little bit? There you go and turn just a little bit to the light for me, please. Great. Great and then turn a little bit this way and you'll see there's a big difference. I have to go. There we go. It's Ah, it's a big difference between that. Little were distracting element on the face and especially, you start going in very, very close. It becomes even more exaggerated. Just a quick question about the height from which you're shooting. I'm curious. You seem to be shooting a little bit lower than the gentleman's head, and I'm curious about your reasons for that and how you would shoot with a woman. Well, it depends what can vary, but I'm just curious, dependent. Your subject so depends on your subject, and the lens you are using depends on the crop you're going with. So for me, because I'm shooting a little bit wider, I opted for a slightly wider lens in this particular case. Now, this particular lens that I have, which is it's a 90 mil on the medium format, so it's about a 72 on a full frame ish, so it's a little bit wider than like in 85 which is usually that standard portrait lens, which was usually go to lens when, when I was when I was shooting on full frame. There is a tiny bit of distortion in it, and so often times I like a little bit of an upward angle on my subject. Since it's the empowering hero hero Angle just just gives a little bit more empowerment to him. Eso So I usually go for a slightly lower angle a lot. Now I will also go right at plane right at the face when I move in a little bit closer. In which case I'll switch to a little bit of a longer lens to do that because I don't love this focal length when it's very, very close, because it tends to distort the face a little bit, whereas a longer lens is gonna give you MAWR accurate perspective on their actual features. So I'm I'm fairly new to photography, but I've worked a lot with, like, portrait's and stuff, and that's something I'm interested in. But I've noticed like um, you know, everyone has a different job line. Some people have, like the sharp, you know, runway jawline, and then some people have less of a jawline. What are some of the like angles of the lights that you found work better with people with less of a jawline versus people with a better, more structured job. One is gonna be a light, anything and when it's gonna be opposing thing. So in terms of the light, if you raise that light up a little bit, it's gonna craft Ah, harder edge. When you use a lot of contrast, it's gonna craft Ah, harder edge, harder edge make the features look a little bit more defined. He has a great jawline, so we're not really worried about that here. But the second part of that is actually posing. And this is actually thing that I think most people forget is the importance of how you pose the face and one of the best tricks for that. It's like just tell the person to turtle the neck, and so what you do is keep the body in places. I always do this. Just say, OK, do this. Don't you stuck your neck for a little bit because photography is two dimensional, so we don't see the next stretch and don't want to make him strain for it. It's just a little bit because it's the difference between this and this. Can we do that real quick? Can you Can you just kind of do one of these for me? Just just kind of put your turn into there a little bit. There you go. Turn down a little bit. There you go. I know we're exaggerating, and I'm sorry. Now, stretch her neck for, like, a turtle and then not too much. Love it less and then down a little bit, Richard, for a little bit. There is great. And so it looks weird, but because photography is going to be a little bit more two dimensional, we don't We don't really run into that issue. We didn't get it there and see if we try that again. Search for just a little bit. 40 doctor, but a little bit Last turn down forward. Vega. Let's see if that comes in, okay? And I was going back for me. They're here. That's really attractive. That's good. We got there we go. Yeah, I mean, tethering tethering is not Ah, perfect solution, but it is usually a lot better than then. Looking at the back of the camera. You see a lot more things If you work with the team hair makeup artist. They'll see a lot more things you can also develop on the go, which if you have someone looking over your shoulder, you get the color right. You get the contrast right, and I'm a big fan of doing that. So it's kind of worth the, um, the problems. So again, you can kind of see Let me let me go. You can see like this happening here. Where is this? And then, especially if you're close, you don't necessarily notice the body position is much or you can do things toe along, beat that neck in a few different ways, and we're gonna play without a little bit more. We actually get to the shooting portion, but you can see just simply how this makes a huge difference. The turtleneck you don't want. You don't want people to strain it. Just it's a little bit and stretching at the plane of the cameras. If you're down there like you're shooting from the ground, you're shooting full body. You get one of these and you'll do this a lot. Now, when you when you get into group shots with friends, you just kind of write you'll do it. You'll find yourself doing it all the time. Now, finally, we're gonna go from Rembrandt to split and split is exactly what it sounds like. It puts the light on half the face. This is the most dramatic. This is not one that I particularly use that much. The reason I use Rembrandt is Rembrandt is about his your man, because you can go while still getting light in both eyes. And I generally like to have light in both eyes because it puts that little sparkle. That little catch light in both eyes when you don't have light in one of the eyes tends to look a little bit dead and lifeless on. So Split will create that effect, but splits very dramatic, You see split a lot in old film noir movies on the reason they use it in movies, and you actually see it used, even even nowadays, when filmmakers allude to ah, film noir storytelling like, for example, breaking bad use this a lot. Breaking bad was shot like a modern film noir on, and they would utilize the split light a lot. Even if it was subtle. It wasn't necessarily super dramatic. It doesn't have to be. But they use split lighting a lot because it was all about, uh, creating a visual narrative that reinforced the idea that that character had two very different sides of the personality. And so when you see it in movies, you'll actually when it's very intentional, a lot of time from filmmakers use split light because it's saying there is something. There's a duality here in this particular character, and so split has that capability as a lighting style. Let's go and get a little meter on that, please. Team Okay? And like this is gonna put half the face in shadow. And there you go. That's what that looks like. And again, it's very dramatic. It is, has a very specific purpose. I I probably would say that I personally gravitate a lot to the Rembrandt or the Loop, but you know, there is certainly a place for this or or even I even paramount. I'm like that I'm a lucre loop or a Rembrandt, but you you should remember that it's not about making your subject always fit into this like it's not what this is about. This just it's part of the language. You're not going to say I gotta I gotta get you in a Rembrandt. I got to get you in a loop. That's that's not how this works. It's about being able to push something in a direction or create a starting point or craft something or explain something or break something down. That's really what this is about. It's not about an absolute set of guides that you have to use again. We're just talking about the tools in the language.

Class Description

Embrace the dark! No longer be afraid of shadow and murky tones. Explore the low-key portrait with Chris Knight. Learn how to maximize the detail in dark imagery through lighting and post-production. Chris will take you from concept through execution covering simple (yet effective) lighting techniques as well as tethering tips with Adobe® Lightroom®. He'll also discuss how to develop the raw image and retouching tactics to make your image appear powerful and purposeful.


Reviews

Brenda Pollock Smith
 

Thank you Chris Knight and Creative Live for another excellent class. I appreciate both the actual shooting and post instruction. Right before your eyes you will see how simple applications of light, shadow combined with post production can create gorgeous, dark images. Chris has a great relaxed manner, easy to follow while offering a ton of tips and tricks. I can hardly wait to try my hand at producing some hauntingly beautiful images like Chris.

a Creativelive Student
 

I don't have a ton of time to spare and largely catch segments of courses on short breaks. One of the things i like best about this course Chris's ability to communicate so effectively and efficiently. He covers a lot of ground in not a lot of time, but the course doesn't feel at all rushed. He's just a good speaker/instructor. One of the other reviewers mentioned that this instructor brings no ego to the stage, and I have to agree. He's a confident and competent instructor without being obnoxious. Rock solid course with terrific instruction. I will definitely check out more of Knight's classes.

jos riv
 

The detail and order in which the information for this class was presented was just perfect. It was like a perfectly prepared meal with each bite more delicious than the last. It had exactly what I needed to move forward with some of my techniques. So glad to have the class so I can enjoy/learn over and over.