Lighting: High Key Female (contains nudity)

 

Fine Art Nude Photography

 

Lesson Info

Lighting: High Key Female (contains nudity)

Now we're gonna do high-key set-ups. When you have something that's high-key, it means that all of the tones or most of the tones are in the brighter range. So most of the things are gonna be white or light-tones. There's not gonna be a lot of dark shadows. And everything we've done so far in these lighting set-ups were pretty much in the low-key, predominantly darker tones. When you shoot something that's high-key it changes the mood. All of a sudden it's ethereal or it's softer. It's like a different type of elegance. Instead of being dark and dramatic, now it's elegant, ethereal. So that's what we're doing now. So I've got a couple of high-key set-ups that I use most often. So we're gonna finish up these ten-plus lighting situations, demoing in this case with high-key. So the set-up that we have now is gonna be a two-light set-up, and all this is, is a silhouette. So we're gonna use a white seamless with two zoom reflectors on the background. Zoom reflectors are just the dishes that...

come with most lights. And the key or the difficult thing that you have to worry about here is getting an even spread on the background. Now, when you take a look at the shot, when you see it, ideally, she'll be solid black, and then I can get an interesting shape and pose, and there won't be any light on her. If any of you have tried a silhouette before, though, this isn't easy. Especially if you're working in a small studio space. So I just want to prep you with a couple of recommendations for that. One of the things you'll see that has helped us along to allow us to have a pure black subject is the v-flat we have on the left-hand side. When you're working in a small space, what happens is if I take those two reflectors and I bounce them off of the background, I'm lighting the background. It's basically a giant white light-source. So the white, that light goes everywhere; bounces off the ceiling, the walls. And so what happens is if you've got a white wall closing the left-hand side and the right-hand side, all of a sudden your subject looks completely lit. Because basically that light that bounced off the background now bounces off the walls and fills in the shadows and now you can't get that silhouette. And for this fine art nude shot, I really wanna focus on the silhouette and her shape. So one of the things you can do is you can add a black v-flat, a black piece of foamcore on either side of your set, on either side of your studio. If you don't have black v-flat, that's fine, you can use black fabric, you can use black reflector, anything just to get rid of the reflective surfaces on either side. This is especially true if you have walls that aren't white as well because your gonna get that color cast. So ideally have dark on each side; I use v-flats. The next problem that I had, if you're looking at this, we're actually using a quite compact space. It's not taking up a lot of square footage. Well, in doing so, what was happening is those zoom reflectors, we have the Cinefoil on either side now. Because what was happening, and you might be able to see this in the shot, you can actually see on her right-hand side, spill of the light. Some of the light is actually hitting the side of her body, which, then it's no longer a silhouette. Normally in a bigger studio space, what I would do, is I'd bring her way forward, and as she moves forward, it gets her in a different zone. The spill's not on her anymore. But we're working in a smaller area. So the solution is that Cinefoil I mentioned before. It's that black tin foil that you can use to make barn doors. In this case, John has added it with... What do you call those? Multiclips. He's used a multiclip to clip it to the side of the zoom reflector, you can also use gaffer's tape. And what it's gonna do is it's gonna block the spill of that light. If you don't have Cinefoil, you could put up a piece of black poster board in the way. Or you could put a reflector that kinda blocks off the light as long it's not bouncing onto our subject. Basically the idea is just block the light so it's not hitting the walls, block the light so it's not hitting the subject. The next part of this is just make sure those two backlights that you're using to light the background aren't too close to the background. Coz what'll happen is you'll only have two little squashes of light. And so I always talk about light like bucket of water. If I have a bucket of water and I throw it really close to that background, it only gets a small area wet because it doesn't have room to spread out. So if I back up a little bit, and then throw the bucket of water, it spreads out more evenly. So what you wanna try to do is find that balance. How far can I back up the light and still get enough spread of light on that background without also getting light on our subject. And so this is the balancing act you're doing especially in a small space. Larger spaces are easier. Okay, so there's that whole bunch of lead-up. So basically what we have now is a white background, no light on our subject, and so we have to concentrate on posing. And the posing in this shot, I know that I'm having no light on her face so everything needs to look good in silhouette. If I'm photographing her face, I wanna see her profile. If I'm photographing her body, I need to have negative space, I need to have a lot of beautiful form. So I've already talked to my subject and she already knows we talked about a couple of poses that I think will work well for this. So let me take a couple of shots and I'll add on one or two more tips. Okay, so let's have that kind of dancerly pose. Perfect. Beautiful. So the things that I was looking at when I was talking to her here is I wanted to have separation between her fingers and her face. If they blend in, it looks like they're connected. Especially in silhouette, you can't tell. So a little bit of separation there. Also the back arm can have a little bit of bend. If you can bend it, bend it. It'll look more elegant. Just a little bit more and bring it a little closer to the body. Right there. Beautiful. Chin to the side so I can see a profile of her face. That looks good. Now I am still getting a little bit of spill of light. What I would do is I would add black v-flats to both sides or... Can I just move you towards the edge? The further I can get her away from that background, the better. The further I can get her away from the spill of the light, the better. So let me take another shot here. Same exact pose. Beautiful. Great. And you'll see, just moving her back that was, like, a foot and a half, it made all the difference. There's maybe a teeny bit of spill of light, but almost nothing. So you have to just kinda problem-solve as you're doing this. Now one other thing you'll see is, I want a completely white background. And I do, until I get to the very bottom of the frame. Coz what you're seeing is you see the bottom of the seamless there. It's not that it's dirty, it's that it's not lit, it's not being illuminated. So if the backgrounds white and that's not being illuminated, it shows up kind of gray. So there's a couple of different solutions for this. In my studio space I use clear plexiglass. I love using clear plexiglass and the reason I do is I can put it on a white surface, like this, to make it pure white and I can get a little bit of a reflection which adds another level of interest especially if I'm having them do a dance pose. I also can add it to a black background to get a reflection on black which I really like when I'm doing that to two back rim-light set-up. Looks really beautiful when you can see that reflection. The other thing that you can do is there are some white backgrounds that are more of a vinyl and that vinyl reflects the light a little bit more. So it's not terrible, looking at this, I can easily Photoshop it out. It's also not horribly distracting, the photo's still fine. But I know for my preferences, I'd like to have a nice, smooth, completely white surface throughout the entire frame. So I like that shot, I'm gonna take one or two more poses and then we're gonna make a couple variations in order to give you another lighting set-up, so some more solutions that are high-key. So one more of those, and I want just one more like, give me a major lean, you can do a... Yeah, perfect. Beautiful. And bend that back elbow just a little bit more. Beautiful. (shutter clicks) Great. Perfect. I love it, that's great. So the idea here for this shot was to have pure silhouette. But let's say that you want a little spotlight. You wanna light the subject's face because you wanna show their beauty or maybe you want to illuminate their chest, you want a pop of light there. What we're going to do in this instance is we're going to add a grid. I've done this set-up before where I've used a beauty dish with a grid. A beauty dish with a grid restricts the light and gives you a nice pretty glow that I could just light the torso and the face. Here, I can do another dramatic pose and just have this 10 degree grid on her face. If you don't know anything about grids, I have a lot of other classes here on CreativeLive on lighting. I talk about the size of the grid: 5, 10, or the smaller the grid versus the larger grid. Small grid focuses the light more. A larger grid or a larger number allows the light to spread out more. So here we've got a 10 and for ProPhoto, it's kind of an in-between. Alright, so let's give this... Can you do the original pose again? So on the toes, perfect. So we're gonna just illuminate her face. And then turn your face towards me a little bit. So I don't need to have her in silhouette any more on the face. Great. Can you turn it up for me, let's turn it to eight. Great. (shutter clicks) Perfect, and then can we just have it at a higher angle. So right now it's a low angle. To sculp the face, you usually want to have the light a little bit higher. So I'm taking a look here and what I see is, I see a beautiful silhouette carving on her body, and then now I can see her face. Perfect. Great. (shutter clicks) That looks beautiful. And then bend that back arm just a little bit more. Beautiful. (shutter clicks) Perfect. So her body's still in silhouette but I have a nice illumination on the face and then the light just barely reaches her chest. So it adds a little bit additional visual interest but it still maintains kind of a clean graphic shot, so that looks great. I've got two variations of this high-key set-up, either needing two or three lights. But let's assume you want something high-key and you've only got one studio strobe. So that's gonna be our final lighting set-up that we have here and kind of my 10 go-to set-ups. So what we're gonna do is we're gonna use one studio strobe, and I've taught this many times before, sometimes it's for my portrait classes, sometimes for my fashion classes, but this is actually an example of where this lighting set-up really, really shines. What we're going to do is we don't even need that white background anymore. We are going to put a single soft box right up directly behind my subject. And so for portraits, what I do is I do this so that there's a little bit of rim light on the jawline in some nice white background but fine art nudes is where this looks the best. Because the light wraps around the form, it carves out the shape and it's so beautiful. Now what we have here is we've got a 3x4-foot soft box. With many subjects, you may need to bigger, maybe a 4x6-foot soft box or you can make it yourself. I have done an equivalent, like made the soft box, the effect, using a shower curtain, or using white bed sheets, or what I actually have is I've got really inexpensive white curtains that I got from Bed Bath & Beyond for, like, 20 bucks. And so what you do is you take this white translucent material, so let's say this is the translucent material, and you light it from behind. Fundamentally, that's the same thing as a soft box. It's harder to control the light and feather the light but if you move the light back far enough, it fills up that sheet or that curtain or whatever it is and it gives you a big soft light source that can wrap around your subject. So we're gonna take a look here and I'm gonna put her right up against that. So feel it right on your back. And taking a look at the modeling light, you can actually see the light start to wrap around her. So let's take a quick test and see what we're getting here. And lean a little bit more that way. Great. Now since we're working in a small soft box, I'm making sure the poses fit within the space. (shutter clicks) It already looks really pretty. Okay, cool. So I'm taking a look here and what's nice about this particular pose that she has is it illuminates either side of her chest and it starts to wrap around her body. What I'm gonna do is I would really love to see that light wrap completely around her form. So I'm gonna turn you more to the side. Something like that, pop out your left... Exactly. Beautiful. And turn your torso to the right just a little. Great. And now lean back. And bring your left shoulder down just a little bit. Pretty, very pretty. (shutter clicks) Great. Now turn your body to the right even more. Great. So what we're gonna see here, I'm actually gonna crop in as you'll see the light start to rake around her body. Can you take one scoot back? Great. Perfect. (shutter clicks) So beautiful. Okay, so what I'm gonna have you do is put your hands down a little bit and then your chin down just a little more, and pull back your left elbow. Great. So I'm actually focusing from her nose, her lips, down. Because I've turned her to the side, the light can wrap around. When she's facing straight towards camera, it's just wrapping around the sides of her body. So it's that little turn that allows light to wrap. Beautiful. I'm just gonna do this again. Now give me super pop that hip, arch your back just a little more, yeah, right there. Beautiful. Chin down just a little bit. (shutter clicks) Great. And now chin up again, great. I love those shots. And so the light takes on a totally different quality. It's ethereal, it's wrapping, and it's beautiful. Now, question I often get is, "How do you decide the exposure?" If I go ahead and I pump this light out more, it begins to wrap around even more, and the highlights blow out more. It's got a different feel, it's not really wrong but in this example, I've got it so that the shadows in the front are still dark. If I decided, "Oh man, the shadows are too dark, "I wanted a picture that's brighter, even more "high-key," I can take a reflector and bring it in the front and so it catches the light from the soft box, fills it in and now I don't have those dark shadows. This light is some of my favorite. If I'm going to do a high-key fine art nude, this is the first set-up I do. It's easy, it's one light, and it looks beautiful on everyone.

Class Description

WARNING: THIS COURSE CONTAINS ARTISTIC NUDITY


Great class! Lindsay is such a powerhouse teacher! Sticking to the obvious theme of the class, she flies through so many lighting options, poses, and details to look for. This class left me with a big creative spark and a lot of information to work with. As always, I wish it didn't have to end. Thank you Lindsay and CreativeLive! - Katie Bug 

Fine Art Nude Photography is about capturing the beauty of the human form. Using light, shadows, posing and creative expression, you can bring out the beauty of your subjects and the human body. Since communication is of the utmost importance when photographing nudes, Lindsay Adler will discuss the etiquette of preparation, setting expectations, directing and working with your subjects. She’ll cover posing techniques and tips on what to emphasize and what to avoid, and discuss the importance of lighting and how it affects the body form. Lindsay will also discuss how to push yourself creatively while maintaining a tasteful and artistic vision.
You’ll learn:
  • Common posing mistakes and what to watch for in your subject while directing 
  • What modifiers and lighting setups work and how they impact the appearance of the human form 
  • How to accentuate muscles, shapes and lines with light and camera angles 
  • Exploration of creativity with the use of body paint and fabric and other props
Whether you are pushing yourself in your boudoir photographing, offering a unique portrait session or exploring your personal fine art work, this class will elevate your creative process, both technically and artistically, when photographing the nude form. 


Included with the purchase of this class are videos not aired during the live broadcast. These additional lessons will continue to further your fine art education. You can download all additional videos by clicking on the "Class Materials" tab.

Reviews

ccPhotography
 

Amazing speaker, instructor and great photographer. The lighting and posing technique is imperative but she gives a lot of small tid bits and tricks that have already set me apart from other photographers. I love her work but I love her teaching style more. I recommend all her classes!

user 0256e5
 

It is a delight to watch someone who has so much passion for her art and Lindsay exudes passion and accompanies that with a great teaching style. She shares her knowledge and has a lot of great tips. I think this class makes a great intro to the subject. For me, this was time well spent.

fortheloveofit2000
 

So much to be thankful for, so brilliant your work Linsdsay.Tank you creative live for sharing the free live viewing wow!