Using 1 light in the studio moving it around the subject

The exercise was to demonstrate the effect of positioning studio lighting when taking a portrait picture.  To show the change the lighting and the effects created when the light is moved around relative to the model.Untitled-1.jpg

20° 60° 100°
120° 180° 220°
260° 300° 340°

How I created this series of photographs

This series of 9 pictures were taken in a studio using a single softbox light with diffuser as the light source.  I placed the model facing square at the camera, her face looking straight at the lens.  The camera remained in the same place positioned on a tripod and the settings remained constant, Camera Nikon D40X, Focal length 42mm, ISO-100, F-Stop f/16, 1/60 second exposure.  I used one light positioned slightly higher than the model and moved the light around in a circle every 40° degrees to take the series of pictures.

The light positioned at 20°, 340° degrees either side of the camera gives full face illumination with slight shadows created by the nose casting a shadow, the chin creating a shadow on the neck because the light is higher the models head. The eyes in their sockets can be easily seen.  The colour of the skin flesh tones and colour of the clothes and hair are easily distinguishable.

The 60° and 300° degree light is still positioned in front of the models face.  The lighting gives a strong illumination on the side of the face putting half of the face in strong shadow.  The side of the face has highlights on the forehead, and along the centre line of the nose.  The hair is less effected by the positioning of the light because it is higher than the model projecting down. The colour of the models clothes are discernible.

The 100° and 260° degree, the lights are just behind the models shoulder.  This gives a very dramatic lighting effect, only the one side of the face part of the forehead, cheek, nose and chin catch the light and are illuminated, the remainder of the face is in shadow. The flesh tones are not very visible. There is still some ambient light from the softbox lighting that the camera has captured to show the model. The area around the eyes appear darker even with the face in shadow.  The colour of the models clothing on her shoulder can be seen.

The light from behind 120°, 220° degrees far behind the left or right of the models shoulder their face is in darkness.  The 120° and 220° degree puts a strong highlight on either side the models hair.

The light direct from behind 180° degrees puts the models face in silhouette.  The light softbox can be seen directly behind the models head.  The wisps of hair can be clearly seen with the light direct from behind.  Both shoulders show highlights because the light is shining slightly down from above the model.

In all these photographs you can see how the neutral grey background changes colour with the strength of light that hits the background and is reflected back towards the camera.


Position of camera and light softbox, with stool where the middle was positioned.

Example of a Softbox light on a stand


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