How was this lit?

Started Apr 24, 2013 | Discussions thread
Barrie Davis
Barrie Davis Forum Pro • Posts: 21,460
Re: How was this lit?

LincolnB wrote:

This appears to be lit on-axis with the camera with a harsh light source yet it doesn't have that look of on-camera flash. Perhaps the key light is on-camera flash and the fill is a softbox, also on-axis with the camera? Or was this done simply with a large ring flash?
The skin has a bit of that plasticky look to it from heavy post-processing, so perhaps that partially explains the lack of harshness to her skin?

Waddya think?

* The lighting is entirely consistent with a very small light source close over the lens and about an inch to the left of it.

* This in itself is entirely consistent with the light produced by a very small and low mounted camera top flash, as may be seen from the close conformity and extreme sharpness of the rim shadow, and the pin-prick catchlight in the eye.

In fact, it could even have been a built-in/pop-up type flash, if the camera model used had its flash installed at the left hand end of the top plate, instead of direcly over the lens.

Alternatively, the flash could have been one of those in the right of the top plate, and the camera rotated to the left to get the upright orientation.

* Moreover, if the photographer used anything other/more than a miniature camera-top flash, then he wasted his time in those endeavours...

...because the lighting remains entirely consistent with a tiny flash used on camera.

Further points...

1) Of course, light that hits the subject very frontal, as above, tends to smooth variations in texture, while revealing any tonal differences specifically enhanced by make-up, and this we do see.(... to reveal texture light must be made to skim obliquely across the subject, not strike square-on)

2) Also, any limbs that are at 90 degrees to the lens axis will have their sense of "roundness" emphasised by the same small frontal light, and again, we see that too in the OP's example shot.


To combine this "limb roundness effect" with SOFT shadows instead of hard shadows, a large diameter ringlight is needed.

Final point: The whole idea of this shot requiring sophisticated lighting, followed by extensive retouching, I'm afraid I find rather amusing. Why would anybody go to so much trouble to reproduce the ambience of a rather rough and ready flash on camera shot...

.... when we all know how to poduce such a shot without that much trouble!! Really!!

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"Ahh... But the thing is, these guys were no ORDINARY time travellers!"

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