Portrait Artist Forum    

Go Back   Portrait Artist Forum > Posing & Lighting the Model


Reply
 
Topic Tools Display Modes
Old 11-20-2005, 11:46 PM   #1
Joan Breckwoldt Joan Breckwoldt is offline
Associate Member
 
Joan Breckwoldt's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2001
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 504
Soft light or strong light for model?




After some discussion on another thread about lighting the model, I have some examples that I need help with. My main question is just how strong should the light be? What's ideal? The soft north light or a stronger light making sharper shadows? It seems to me that the stronger light and therefore stronger shadows would be easier to paint, at least for a beginner like me.

This first example is of my son in my 'studio' with my new backdrop painted the greyish green Bill Whitaker suggested. I used a too weak bulb, a flourescent 18 watt to supplement north light on a cloudy day, late in the afternoon. I should have used a reflector to get some light into the shadows. But, this is an example of what I usually get: RED people.

Joan
Attached Images
 
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2005, 11:49 PM   #2
Joan Breckwoldt Joan Breckwoldt is offline
Associate Member
 
Joan Breckwoldt's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2001
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 504
Second example

Okay, now here is my daughter sitting about 5 feet away from a huge north lit window about noon on a cloudy day. I tried to make sure the lower part of the window was blocked off so I wouldn't gett too much light bouncing up onto the underside of her neck. It seems my camera captured some cooler colors for a change. I am just so happy not to have another photo of a RED person. Here is my question:

Are these shadows too subtle to paint from?
Attached Images
 
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2005, 11:52 PM   #3
Joan Breckwoldt Joan Breckwoldt is offline
Associate Member
 
Joan Breckwoldt's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2001
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 504
One more

This is a friend of my mother's, sitting in the same position as the previous example. About 4-5 feet away from a huge northern facing window, noon, cloudy day.

I see shadows, but again, perhaps not sharp/strong enough? I welcome and look forward to any comments about how I can improve my reference shots.

thank you,

Joan
Attached Images
 
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2005, 11:57 PM   #4
Joan Breckwoldt Joan Breckwoldt is offline
Associate Member
 
Joan Breckwoldt's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2001
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 504
Strong shadows like these?

This is a photo I took in my portrait class of our model. Nice strong shadows, but again, she's pretty red. I just took this snapshot so I could finish the portrait at home, used my Canon PoswerShot S30. I don't know what kind of lighting is used in the studio where I take classes, I don't think the bulbs are anything fancy.

Are these the kind of strong shadows necessary to get good form?

thanks again,

Joan

Sorry about all the posts.
Attached Images
 
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-21-2005, 08:34 AM   #5
Julie Deane Julie Deane is offline
Juried Member
 
Julie Deane's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2003
Location: Gainesville, GA
Posts: 1,298
Hi Joan -

I don't have much time to write this morning, but a quick question:

Does your camera allow you a way to change your white balance? I have a powershot, an older model, and it has a place where I can adjust it according to the lighting situation - incandescent, sunny day, cloudy day, automatic, etc. Even do your own balance, which I admit I haven't learned to do yet.

That may be your problem.
__________________
Julie Deane
www.discerningeyeportraits.com
Member of Merit, Portrait Society of Atlanta
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-21-2005, 09:27 AM   #6
Steven Sweeney Steven Sweeney is offline
Juried Member
PT 5+ years
 
Steven Sweeney's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2001
Location: Stillwater, MN
Posts: 1,792
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joan Breckwoldt
Are these shadows too subtle to paint from?
On my employer's time, I'll respond only to this question, regarding your second example.

I think the value design is very good here, very workable. I'm not sure if by "subtle," you mean that the shadow isn't very dark and sharply delineated. Usually only an intense, close, single light source (or direct sunlight) will give you that, and unless you're doing cast drawings in a studio, there's no good reason that I know of to go for that effect, especially on a young, soft-complexioned female. That is, maybe it would go over on a grizzled cowhand, corral-side under a midday sun, but not here.

Of your four examples, this is the one that I would be most inclined to pursue. On my monitor, the first and fourth are impossibly dark -- squint at them and the figures disappear completely.
__________________
Steven Sweeney
Paint4Real@comcast.net

"You must be present to win."
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-21-2005, 09:59 AM   #7
Joan Breckwoldt Joan Breckwoldt is offline
Associate Member
 
Joan Breckwoldt's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2001
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 504
Hi Julie,

Thank you for your reply. I think it does but I never learned how to do that! I'll investigate.

Hi Steven,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Sweeney
I'm not sure if by "subtle," you mean that the shadow isn't very dark and sharply delineated.
That's exactly what I mean. I mean the transitions between shadow and light are not well defined. I don't necessarily mean shadows that are not dark, but I think with the more diffused light I am by definition not going to get dark shadows. At least that's what it seems like to me.

Thank you Steven for replying, especially on your employer's time.

Joan
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-21-2005, 11:21 PM   #8
Michele Rushworth Michele Rushworth is offline
CAFE & BUSINESS MODERATOR
SOG Member
FT Professional
 
Michele Rushworth's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2001
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 3,460
Joan, I think the example of your daughter is lighted just about perfectly. You would rarely want any greater degree of contrast between lit and unlit areas, anyway. Much more contrast than this and your camera couldn't handle it anyway. You'd end up with blasted out white light areas and deep impenetrable darks. Not good to paint from.

The shots that turn out red are probably, as was suggested, problems with your white balance setting on your camera. It is probably set by default to match the window light that you had on your daughter and your Mom's friend, since the color on those is great.

When we shoot by artificial light we run into lots of different colors of lighting. The reddest ones look like they are lit by incandescent light(regular houshold bulbs) but that your camera's white balance is still set for natural daylight. Check out that feature and be sure it's set to match whatever the main light source is.
__________________
Michele Rushworth
www.michelerushworth.com
mdrushworth@comcast.net
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-22-2005, 08:45 AM   #9
Cindy Procious Cindy Procious is offline
Juried Member
 
Cindy Procious's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2003
Location: Signal Mountain, TN
Posts: 352
Definitely read your camera's manual on how to adjust white balance. It makes such a difference.

I like the photo of your son, too. You can color correct photos in Photoshop, and lighten the darks to get more information.
Attached Images
 
__________________
--Cindy

www.cindyprocious.com
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-22-2005, 11:02 AM   #10
Joan Breckwoldt Joan Breckwoldt is offline
Associate Member
 
Joan Breckwoldt's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2001
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 504
Thank you all

Dear Michele, Cindy, Steven, and Julie,

Thank you all for taking the time to post such insightful and thoughtful answers, I really appreciate it. Thanks to you all I think I will be able to take much better photos as soon as I get the white balance figured out. With the Thanksgiving holidays starting tomorrow I'll have two almost willing subjects to take lots of photos of over the break. First, of course, I need to get out my manual and read up on white balance.

I am still very much interested in hearing more opinions on just how delineated/sharp the line should be where the shadow meets the light. I suppose it also depends on the mood I want to convey. And like so much, there is probably no magic answer.

thanks,

Joan
  Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing this Topic: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Topic Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Topics
Thread Topic Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Thomas Nash -- Portrait Academy Series, Norcross, GA -- What a great day! Bobbi Baldwin School, Atelier and Workshop Discussion 17 10-29-2005 04:08 PM
The Importance of Light. Michael Georges Posing & Lighting the Model 10 06-24-2004 09:08 PM
Photographic Adventure Mike McCarty Subject-specific Demos 43 06-16-2004 12:24 AM
Photographing your art to gallery standards Cynthia Houppert Photographing Your Artwork 3 10-02-2003 08:53 PM

 

Make a Donation



Support the Forum by making a donation or ordering on Amazon through our search or book links..







All times are GMT -4. The time now is 12:40 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.