Ring light for my camera

Started 4 months ago | Discussions thread
tugwilson Senior Member • Posts: 2,660
Re: Ring light for my camera

Pendraggon87 wrote:

Ended up buying an Aputure M9 (https://www.amazon.com/Aputure-AL-M9-Amaran-Light-Camera/dp/B01ITRLJIW). My only concern is staring into a camera with a bright LED on top.

Looking at other people's setup photos on Reddit, I see a lot of cases where the light(s) are on either side of the person, with the camera in the center. Is that preferred? (I mostly shoot landscapes, so super unfamiliar with lighting a person). I am on calls a LOT and don't want to hurt my eyes, but the lighting in my apartment is poor - currently my desk faces a wall and has windows far behind me. I can rotate 90 degrees if needed - only one large monitor on my desk.

The M9 is a nice light and is used a lot by gaffers to do things like light difficult small spaces. It's not a great key light because it's so small.

If we are lighting faces we generally want soft light. Soft light throws very soft edged shadows. If you light a face with soft light any skin imperfections are lots less apparent than if you use hard light because wrinkles and pimples throw shadows.  You make a soft light by using light with a large surface area as close to the subject as you can manage. A small light will always produce hard light.

We also generally don't light the face head on. Again this is because of the shadows. If the light is falling on your nose from a light right in front of it you will get the impression of a flat face. You want your node to throw a shadow so the viewer will get a 3D effect.

If you light the face from two sides, ideally with two reasonably large rectangular lights, Then you will get semi soft light. because the light is falling on the face from two directions the shadows will have sort of soft edges.

However if the lights are the same brightness your nose will throw two shadows which may look a bit strange. I've never done this but I would expect I spend some time trying different light placements with lights of different  brightness.

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