Continuous Lighting Practice: Sweetie helps me again

I’m taking a portrait lighting class on Wednesday nights (just three sessions) through the Nevada Museum of Art. We were given the option of shooting someone with a single continuous light source (direct, diffused, and reflected).  I gave it a go using some lights I haven’t used in awhile (no flash, no umbrellas, etc).  The results were mixed.

Diffused light.

This one is my favorite. I used my humble little cheapie soft box (Cowboy Studio) to camera right at about a 45-degree angle to Sweetie. No fill on this one. I like the shape of his face in this one, and his very strong jaw line is clear. Nice catch light in his eyes.

Same light with a bit of reflected fill on the left. Not crazy about what happened to his jaw on the left, but I think it’s because he’s a bit scrunched.  He tends to do that sometimes and I just didn’t catch it this time.

Reflected light.

I sat Sweetie near the wall with a white muslin backdrop, clamped a shop lamp onto the back of a tall chair and shined it onto the white backdrop. I was definitely handicapping myself with this light, but I made a point to go “old school.”  That is, I wanted to use the same lighting I was using way back when I first started my lighting class at UNR last spring. So, shop lamp it was.

Light reflecting from the right, fill on left provided by white foam board (handheld by your humble photographer).

Reflected light, no fill.

I had Sweetie turn his head a bit to get more light on his face. Fill on left with same white foam board.

Direct light.

One thing I learned? Sweetie does not look very appealing in direct light. He does not have the kind of chiseled features that this kind of lighting would accentuate.  Frankly, most people don’t look good in it, and that’s why I tend to reserve it for creating rim lighting or lighting a backdrop.

This one was my best one of the batch, and for me it’s definitely “Meh.”  Like I said, I can see how this kind of light could be used for great effect, but on Sweetie’s face, not so much. Then again, maybe I just didn’t manipulate the light source enough.  And yes, I used the same shop lamp for the direct light shots too.

Another one that’s not horrible, but really, can you see that direct light is just not for him?  He shines like crazy and every wrinkle is accentuated. His face is too soft and kind for this kind of treatment.

So far I’m enjoying the class (after just one session). Some of it is information I’ve already gotten before, and some information is new to me. The people in the class are all about my age (some younger, some older), all with a passion for photography.  Tonight we’ll have models in studio to shoot, and I can’t wait!