How was this lit?

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

Clueless Wanderer wrote:

Barrie Davis wrote:

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 directly 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 ambiance of a rather rough and ready flash on camera shot...

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

A 'Tiny flash' on camera wouldn't have such an even fall of light and over so much of an area.

Why not? I take evenly lit shots by on-camera flash all the time. There isn't any special trick to it.

I don't believe those shadows on the back are original/untouched

Why not? What do you think gives them away as false? In point of fact, I see something in them that would be hard to fake, that more or less proves they are real shadows.

Hint: it is something to do with the shadow falling under her right arm.

- To have such a bright light with the subject so close to a white wall, there is no way shadows could stay so black.

Why ever not? What makes think that light from the white wall BEHIND the shadow can "U" turn through 180 and end up self-filling those shadows from the front? (This can be done, if required, but it needs a reflector. In the absence of a reflector the shadows stay black, just as we see.)

For one, she has white gloves on and so close to a white background, they would be some light bouncing back into those shadows.


Instead, they are as black as the rest. Ive got no answer to how it was lit, but her skin screams beauty dish.. Sorry, but you are wrong. Beauty dish definately not used. 'Salt cellars' much too harshly rendered for that. In fact, there are quite a few parts of the shot that are distinctly ugly.... (her left buttock is squashed against the wall and looks terrible.)

I ask again, why would anybody go to a lot of TROUBLE to fake a shot with harsh and nasty lighting that accurately simulates flash on-camera, when it is so ridiculously easy to do harsh and nasty lighting with a flash on the camera?

This is not to say that zero retouch to facial skin tones was done. But because of (a) frontal lighting, and (b) studio make-up routinely applied...

... very little smoothing in retouch would be required.

Like I said before...

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

... so it makes a lot of sense to conclude that that was exactly how it was done.

Puzzle: Why does everybody look for a conspiracy?

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

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