Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tech Talk Tuesday (Just the Basics)


In last weeks Tech Talk Tuesday, I showed you some portraits that were taken on short notice, outside,  at dusk.  They all had beautiful lighting, but not from an on camera flash.  As I've said many times, an on camera flash would produce a harsh, flat, deer-in-the-headlights look.  Most unflattering.  If it is too dark to bounce some light onto your subject with a reflector, (which would be my first choice), and you don't have portable studio lights to set up outdoors, but you want a lovely lit portrait in dark conditions, what is another option??????
Well, I guess you could just take your photo without any light at all......  but you can tell by the above result that this is not a good option.  Even a harsh camera flash would be an improvement over this.

Or, you could spend a few dollars and take a few extra minutes of preparation and have warm lighting like this.  Because it's off camera and can be directed at an angle, it produces more of a flattering dimensional look as it creates shadows and wraps around the face.  What created this beautiful light???

A $29 Black & Decker halogen spotlight I bought at Home Depot, and a sheet of translucent gel paper.   No special talent required.  Have a helper stand behind you and at an angle to your subject.  Have him hold the light in one hand and the colored paper in front of the light with the other hand.  You will need to make sure the shadows hitting the face are not sharp, especially on the side of the nose, and you control that by the angle of, and intensity of the light.   You do that by directing your helper to move either closer or farther away, and directing your subject on which way to angle her head.  That's it.  Any spotlight will do.  This one has 2 light settings to play with.  Pretty simple, don't you think???