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  • Tricks of the Tradefor Professional

    Digital Photographers

    TECHNIQUES FOR PHOTOGRAPHYSTUDIO LIGHTING

    Amherst MediaPUBLISHER OF PHOTOGRAPHY BOOKS

    Christopher Greys

  • Copyright 2010 by Christopher Grey.All photographs by the author unless otherwise noted.

    All rights reserved.Published by:Amherst Media

    P.O. Box 586Buffalo, N.Y. 14226Fax: 716-874-4508www.AmherstMedia.com

    Publisher: Craig AlesseSenior Editor/Production Manager: Michelle PerkinsAssistant Editor: Barbara A. Lynch-JohntEditorial Assistance by Sally Jarzab, John S. Loder, and Carey Maines.

    ISBN-13: 978-1-58428-271-6Library of Congress Control Number: 2009903887Printed in Korea.10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

    No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic,mechanical, photocopied, recorded or otherwise, without prior written consent from the publisher.

    Notice of Disclaimer: The information contained in this book is based on the authors experience and opinions. Theauthor and publisher will not be held liable for the use or misuse of the information in this book.

    Christopher Grey is an internationallyacclaimed and noted world-class pho-tographer, instructor, and author basedin Minneapolis, MN. His still photographyhas won many national and internationalawards for excellence for clients such asthe Dairy Association (Got Milk?), as haveseveral of the television commercials hesdirected, such as the Addy he won forLexus of Clearwater. Considered by manyof his peers as one of the most acknowl-

    edged Masters of Light working today,Chris is a frequent guest speaker and in-structor at workshops and conventionson several continents.

    Chris is the author of numerous bookson photographic lighting, including thebestselling Master Lighting Guide for Por-trait Photographers and others publishedby Amherst Media, as well as books onPhotoshop techniques and the Canoncamera system.

    ABOUT THE AUTHORPh

    otobyJoey

    Tichen

    or.

    View the companion blog to this book at: http://studiolightingphotography-grey.blogspot.com/

    Check out Amherst Medias other blogs at: http://portrait-photographer.blogspot.com/

    http://weddingphotographer-amherstmedia.blogspot.com/

  • Contents

    Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5About This Book . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5

    PART 1: DIGITAL PRINCIPLES IN THE STUDIO

    1. Color Spaces and File Formats . . . . . . . . . . . .6Color Spaces: RGB vs. sRGB . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6File Formats: RAW vs. JPEG . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

    2. How to Read Your Light Meter . . . . . . . . . . .9

    3. The Four Qualities of Light . . . . . . . . . . . . .11Color . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11Contrast . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14Direction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18Quality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19

    4. The Gear . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20Softboxes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20Umbrellas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21Reflectors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22Grids . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23Accessory Arms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24In Closing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25

    PART 2: DIGITAL STUDIO LIGHTING IN PRACTICE

    5. Specularity and Depth of Lightwith Softboxes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26

    Finding the Best Light . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32

    6. Umbrellas and the Spread of Light . . . . . . .34Softboxes vs. Umbrellas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38

    7. Shaping the Background Light . . . . . . . . . .39More Background Light Options . . . . . . . . . .45Barndoors and Mystery Modifiers . . . . . . . . . .48

    8. Hair Light Options . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50Parabolic Reflectors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50Beauty Bowls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51Grids . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .52Softboxes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .53Umbrellas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .55

    9. Metering the Face and Profile . . . . . . . . . . .57Perfect Exposure Begins with aCalibrated Light Meter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57

    10. Lighting, Up Close and Personal . . . . . . . .63

    11. Feathering Light . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .65A Bonus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .68

    12. Fun with a Softbox . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .69Breaking the Rules for Fun and Profit . . . . . .69Modifying the Basic Setup . . . . . . . . . . . . . .72

    CONTENTS 3

  • 13. The Shadow of Your . . . Nose? . . . . . . . . .74

    14. Telephoto Lenses in the Studio . . . . . . . . .76

    15. The Bookend Bounce . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .80

    16. Perfect White Backgrounds,Perfect High Key . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .83

    17. The Key to Low Key . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .89

    18. Why Strip Lights Are So Cool . . . . . . . . . .93

    19. Lighting for Shape . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .97

    20. That Blasted Backlight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .101

    21. Simulated Sunlight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .104

    22. The Beam Splitter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .108

    23. Massage the Shot, Massage the Concept . .112Let Your Clients Do the Work . . . . . . . . . .112

    24. Cut Your Background Light in Half . . . .117

    25. Using Black Clothing Effectively . . . . . . .119

    26. Think Like a Movie Director . . . . . . . . . .122

    Afterword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .124Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .125

    4 STUDIO LIGHTING TECHNIQUES FOR PHOTOGRAPHY

    There is a great deal of work, and a large number ofpeople, involved in a project like this book. While itsa labor of love for me, it was a commitment of time forthem, and their efforts are much appreciated.

    Many thanks to my models, Faayo Adam, DeniseArmstead, Tristy Auger, Sandra Avelli, Katy Becker, LolaBel Aire, Michael Dane, Laurel Danielson, KimberlyDohrer, Bill Foster, Gerry Girouard, Bill Gladden, CassieGlover, Tammy Goldsworthy, Molly Grace, ChristineGrether, Jennifer Hammers, Amanda Harris, ArikaInugami, Courtney Johns, Brooke Keys, Erin Kromer,Jennifer Lindner, Joanna Mickelson, Alan Milavetz,Jessica Nyberg, Michael Ostman, Nichole Parrish, CarriePoehler, Madge Plasto, Lucia Radder, Jennifer Rocha,Sehata, Margot Scheltens, Aleta Steevens, Ruthie Stein,

    Katie Thomey and her beautiful children, Alissa Tousig-nant, Keith Williams, and Sahar Zamir. Thank you foryour time. Thank you for your talent.

    To the hair and makeup artists, the unsung heroes ofthe studio: thanks to Sandra Avelli, Nicole Fae, and SarahMorrison. Your work is terrific, and you make my lifeeasier every time we work together.

    Thanks to my buddy Joey Tichenor for the authorphoto. Joeys doing some very fun, creative and inter-esting work that you can check out at www.JTichenorPhotography.com.

    Special thanks to Sue, my beautiful wife, who putsup with my ridiculous schedule time after time, and toour daughter, Liz, who does the same.

    KUDOS

  • Introduction

    INTRODUCTION 5

    Since I committed to digital Ive seen more changesin our industry than I saw in the first twenty yearsof my career. For instance, I used to joke (read: lament)that every time the camera industry made a major tech-nological breakthrough like auto flash, TTL averageand spot metering, or auto focus, I would have to dealwith at least a dozen new competitors, all grimly deter-mined to undermine my market share. Well, I dealtwith them just fine. Many of the successful becamefriends (but rivals), while the unsuccessful moved on toother venus, some of them making terrific hamburgersto this very day.When digital photography took over, photographers

    came to understand that the learning curve was steeperthan many imagined or were led to believe, but thebiggest error most photographers made was in applyinganalog techniques to digital photography. Many pho-tographers learned just enough to put the equipmentto work; this was understandable given the cost of thegear and the need to put food on the table. Those pho-tographers did not foresee that the necessary invest-ment in image manipulation software to fix simpleerrors would have a devastating effect on personal andfamily time.The simple truth is that every technical mistake can

    be avoided by applying just two things: knowledge andcontrol.

    About This Book

    Professional lighting, or should I say, lighting like aprofessional, is largely a matter of taste and practice.Your taste will determine what wardrobe, background,and composition youll use for your images. Practicewill determine your selection of lighting style, theequipment youll use and, ultimately, your success. Yes,thats correct. Visual success for a photographer ismostly the result of practice. Shoot, shoot, shoot be-cause, with digital, its free, free, free. Even if youre

    not being paid for your work, you still need the prac-tice. Practice leads to innovation; its that simple. Ivebeen shooting paying jobs since I was fourteen, a longtime ago, but still look forward to several practiceshoots every month. Those sessions are where I feel nocreative restraints and can simply play with my toys.Even if the images are not as good as Id expect, per-haps even awful, t