Today we start with the first LIGHTING-TUTORIAL. I have already explained what we mean when talking about lighting. We speak about the way light acts according to a specific photographic result.
The lighting tutorials will be talking about the character of pure light and today we start with the first one. SOFT REFLECTOR LIGHT! And when we talk about “SOFTNESS”, we mean really soft light. Soft because of size AND material. Ok, but first things first…
What do we mean when speaking about “minimalism”… well, good question if you still ask yourself what the h… this post is about. But keep on reading and you will be some wise lighting guru at the end of the particular posting.
The human eye is directly connected to your brain. Simple as that. But although your eyes are pretty damm good at doing their work (absolutly fantastic contrast and sharpness), your brain is NOT… Start being a good photographer with changing your brain. Changing it into a photo camera! :-) Yes… I am serious. Take a look at the following photo of a shooting last year… We did a portrait & fashionshoot. The side of the Sunbouncer used was the WHITE reflection side.
You don’t need a lot for a good photo… Most important is the MODEL!!!
… and now start to analyze the lighting situation.
1. Do you see any shadows? – NO!!! ERGO: No bright and direct sunlight and still we used the white (“not so damm reflecting white side”).
2. Where does the main light come from??? – You see the slight reflections on the photographers jacket??? So, the sun (behind the clouds) comes directly from right behind the wall.
All in all, I would call that a very “soft-light-day”… everything is bright without any harsh sunlight.
Ok, and now comes the “camera-thinking-part”. Look at the model. Black jacket, white shirt – Urggghh… bad situation! But up to now, it is no big deal. Every photographer knows that black on white is hard to take photos of. So where is the new thinking process???
It is the “post-processing”… nowadays, nearly no photos leaves the photographers hands without being at least digital retouched in Lightroom. It’s ok because the RAW-files of the cameras can’t be seen as actual photos. They are unprocessed data of the sensor. Even in film-photography, every film had his individual look and style. So post-processing belongs to photography as shooting the actual photo.
And because of that, you have to connect the “post-process-work” with you “shooting-process”. Ok, this post could be a bit too theoretic by now. So, it’s time to give you a visual example.
Take a look at those two photos. Take a very close look!!!
If you think it is the same image, take a close look at the mouth. IT IS a different photo!!! :-)
You probably think that we did a different digital work on a single image. But you are WRONG! SO WRONG! They are two different photos. One photo was lit with the reflector above, and one was lit without any reflector. The postprocessing was absolutly identical. SAME LIGHTROOM SETTINGS FOR BOTH PHOTOS!!!
Simple as that, your eyes are just to good… The dynamic range is so big, that the little changes are not really recognized.
And now you can see the difference between a little bit of lighting. Keep in mind… we used the WHITE SIDE!!! It can make a huge changing of the whole photo. If you go with a high contrast look as we do, a little difference when photographing make a whole lot of difference in post processing. And we only used the white side of the reflector. I guess you don’t use a “white” reflector very often.
Take a look at the crop of the photo above. You can’t even see the reflector in the eyes, but still it is there!!! And its effect is huge.
Ok, and what was the post today about? What was the overall understanding. I will try to put it in some short sentences..
Start think is a camera and post-processing-computer. Because you can’t see a whole lot of difference with you own eyes, it doesn’t mean that there is no difference. What makes a good photo into a perfect photo are such little things you can’t really see on location but you know they are there!
If you analyze your own photo you will see what we are talking about. A lot of good shots will be good because of lighting effects emerging afterwards in post processing. A lot of photographers would have used the much stronger golden oder zebra side. Why, because you can see that there is some effect when moving the reflector around. But you can’t see everything your camera sees.