Tag Archives: portriat

Inga looking bored


How did I create this picture?

I created this picture using a medium format film roll camera. I staged the photograph of the model near the wall. The aim of using the wall was to remove distracting elements and features that could appear in the background.

I used a light reflector to bounce the light under the models face making her face and body appear brighter so that they stand out and are clearly the main subject of the picture.

Once I took the picture I developed the film using developer, stopper and fix in the darkroom. I then hung the film negative in the dryer. Once the film was dry I put it in the negative holder in the enlarger, focused the image in the enlarger. I exposed the photographic paper for 3 seconds based on the experience of previous test strips and developed the print using developer, stopper and fix. 

What worked well?

 This photograph worked well, I have managed to create effective lighting on the face and body. The reflector was positioned so that the over cast shadows under the models chin were lightened, making it and easier to see the facial features.

Inga is wearing dark clothes and the background is also dark, there is a blending of her body to the background, this has emphasised the head, neck and V-shape of her top.

How can I improve this picture?

The photograph I have the reflector caught in the frame. I can improve this picture by making sure that the reflector doesn’t appear in the picture, either by zooming in more on Inga, or careful enlarging and cropping of the final print.

Inga is standing close to the wall, but there are still items visible in the background. The shallow depth of field has deliberately blurred them so the viewer does not focus on the items in the background.

The camera was positioned low, and is looking slightly up towards Inga’s face, because Inga is not standing immediately in front of the wall, there is a line that runs just across the top of Inga’s head where the wall and ceiling join. If I had raised the camera higher or Inga was positioned closer to the wall, this line would not have been present. This line can be a distracting element in the picture.

creating different lighting and affects using reflectors


ISO-400, F-stop f/11, Shutter speed 1/125 second,  focal length 55mm

This series of four photographs I have used two types of reflectors, black and silver and a diffuser to show the effect these can have to illuminate a model.

Photograph 1 A black reflector was used.  A black reflector is an anti-reflector.  The use of the black reflector is to create and cast a shadow on certain areas of the subject.  For example, if the lights are producing too even a light on the model’s face, the black side of the reflector can cut out the light on one side to create more artistic shadows.

Photograph 2  The diffuser was used to reduce the strength of the light striking the models face.  It is not intended to create shadows, but to generate a more even light and reduce the effects of strong lighting such as strong contrasts between bright highlights and shadows.

Photograph 3 The silver reflector was placed low and to the right of the model’s face to bounce light back up to the models face.  It gives strong lighting to the opposite side of the face from the sun, so that the side of the face and neck that would be in shadow also have highlights showing.  The areas around the eyes are still in shadow to give contrast.  This could have been reduced if the reflector had been positioned further round to throw light more directly straight on to the face of the model.

Photograph 4. The silver reflector was positioned not as low to illuminate under the face, but angled to bounce light straight at and only slightly to the side of the models right side of their face.  This produced a more even overall lighting effect to the right side of the face.  The extreme left side and forehead are highly lit by the strong sunlight.


Using 2 lights in the studio moving it around my subject

This series of nine photographs are to demonstrate the effect of using two types of studio lights when taking portrait photographs of a model.  The positioning of the lights were moved to show changes the lighting and the effects created.

These photographs are part the assignment theme of portraiture and lighting techniques.changing the light using 2 lights .jpg

Photograph 1
20° softbox, 220° spotlight
Photograph 2
60° softbox, 260° spotlight
Photograph 3
100° softbox, 300° spotlight
Photograph 4
140° softbox, 340° spotlight
Photograph 5
180° softbox, 0° spotlight
Photograph 6
220° softbox, 20° spotlight
Photograph 7
260° softbox, 60° spotlight
Photograph 8
300° softbox, 100° spotlight
Photograph 9
0° softbox, 180° spotlight

How I created these pictures.

The photographs were created in the studio using a white background. I set the camera up on a tripod, the camera did not move.  The camera and settings also remained constant for the series of photographs, Nikon D40X, Focal length 42mm, ISO-100, F-Stop f/16, 1/60 second exposure.  I used two lights directly opposite each other, a softbox light and continuous spotlight fitted with a honeycomb grid over the front to help focus the light beam on to the model and stop the light from spilling and splaying out beyond a narrow beam.  The lights were moved around in a circle placed at 40° intervals with the model positioned in the centre. After each photograph the lights were moved around 40° from the last point. This was repeated until the circle was completed.  Both the hard spot light and the softbox light was positioned above the model’s head shining down on to the models head and shoulders.

The spotlight is very powerful and bright compared to the more diffused light generated by the softbox. The spotlight has a harsh blue tone compared to the slightly warmer light from the softbox.

The photograph 5 (centre) with the hard spot light aimed straight at the model’s face, with the softbox immediately behind the model.  The model’s face is very pale, bleached by the intensity of the light shining on the face, part of the left eyebrow is lost because of the bright intensity of the lighting.  The detail around the eyes, nose, mouth and chin appear flat.  The photograph 9 the model’s face is illuminated by softbox and behind the head the hard spot light.  The light from the softbox is not so strong and does bleach out the face, the light from behind highlights the shape of the head and hair providing a sharp outline with a halo highlight on the hair.  If the hard spot light lamp were raised higher and extended behind the model’s head so the lamp and the light stand would not be seen in the photograph.

When these are contrasted with the photograph 1, the softbox lighting is approximately 20 degrees to the left of the model’s face, the majority of the face is illuminated with warm soft tone lighting that compliments the model’s skin tones and hair.  There are some shadows that show depth around the eyes, nose and chin and the cheek bones.  The hard spot light from behind at 220 degrees gives a highlight to the top right hand side of the head and enhances the variety of colour tones within the hair are visible.

Photograph 6, the reciprocal lighting photograph with the hard spotlight at 20 degrees and the softbox behind the face at 220 degrees demonstrates the diffuse lighting created using the softbox compared to the strong light and the face that is half illuminated and half in shade.  The softbox lighting from 220 degrees gives a more gentle light to the models hair, but none of the light from behind shows on the models face.

Photograph 7. The spotlight is shining from the side of the face gives a strong illuminated left side to the face, left cheek and ear and left side of the nose, but the front of the face and, mid line of the nose and right side of the face is in shadow.  The diffused softbox lighting from the right is positioned behind the head, but some of the light catches the corner of the right side of the models face.





softbox spotlight + honeycomb grid


Reflector when taking a portrait photograph

The use of a reflector is intended to bounce light back on to the face, but with less light intensity as the originating light source.  The bounced light does not totally flatten the face and make the facial features ‘disappear’ because all the shadows are not totally removed.

The use of a strong light source in line with the camera lens straight square on to the face would remove the changes in light and dark caused by the relief shape of the face and produce a very flat featureless face.

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 09.23.39.png
In these series of photographs I have used natural and artificial available light in these portraits with and without the use of a reflector.  The camera settings remained the same for all these photographs to demonstrate the difference a reflector makes.  Camera Nikon D3100, 40mm focal length lens, ISO-200, F-Stop f/5.6, I/60 second exposure.

The bottom row of photographs the faces have dark shadows on one side of the face, the facial features such as the nose and cheeks, chin and necks cause some of the face to be thrown in darkness because the light source is strong from one side. The faces have dark eyes caused by a lack of light thrown directly on to the face.

The top row of photographs I have used reflectors with the assistance of a helper to hold the reflector in position. I used a silver, gold or white reflector placed in positions to bounce some of natural light back on to the face. The intention is to throw light back on to the face or neck depending where the reflector is positioned. The reflected light is to reduce the shadows, to brighten the area around the recessed eyes, but to still keep some light and shade on the face so the facial characteristics and features and are still defined by the light shadow.

The reflector held low pointed back up to the face, to remove shadows under the chin.

If the reflector is held at approximately the head height the bounced light removes the strong shadows and highlights that can occur when a reflector is not used.

The light of the colour bounced of the reflectors changed depending on the reflector used. Silver and white reflectors gave bright reflection. The gold reflector gave a warm colour hue to the face portrait.  The white and silver reflectors give a colder light similar to the ambient quality of light colour.


Making babies

Making babies

The careful merging of two faces to create a third, a product of the two ‘parent faces’ combined.

lucy photo_MG_8041+georgie_MG_8024

I created the composite image below by using Photoshop and merging and blending the above two portrait photographs. I lightened the photograph on the left so the background and skin tones were similar.  I used the select tool grab and copy the mouth and chin, neck and shoulders and chest of the right photograph, pasted it on to the left photograph as a new layer, Layer 1, adjusted the opaque slider so that skin tones merged even more. I used the transform tool to move the chin and size it so that it was lined up correctly on top of the face below. I clicked on the background layer used the select tool to grab the long hair that falls over the shoulders. I pasted them as a new layer, Layer 2 on top of Layer 1.  I then merged all the layers.  I finally used the cloning brush to help complete the blending process.