Robin Michals | COMD 1340 Photography 1 OL89 | FAll 2020

Author: rmichals (Page 2 of 11)

Lab: Week 13: Window Light Silhouette

While not a traditional portrait lighting style, windows are great for creating silhouettes.

Create a profile silhouette of yourself in front of a window.

If you are working with a cameraphone, this will take a bit of coordination. Set the exposure for out the window. Bring your result into Lightroom (mobile or classic).

Lightroom App

At a minimum:

Straighten it with Geometry. Under Light, bring down the blacks.

Lightroom Classic:

Use Transform to straighten. In the basic panel, make the blacks darker.

Post to Openlab with a description of your process. What did you have to do to get a clean silhouette? Don’t forget to reduce the files size of your jpgs before posting.

Category: Lab: Week 13 – Silhouette

Lab: Week 13: Rembrandt, Broad, Short and Split Light

Review the portrait lighting styles: Rembrandt, Broad, Short, and Split light.

Standing close to a window, create a self-portrait in each lighting style. Put them into a post with the category below. Clearly label each one with the lighting style and write a short description of the lighting style in your own words. Answer the questions: Which lighting style was most difficult to create? Which gave you the best result?

Category: Lab: Week 13 – Lighting Styles

Week 13 – Portrait Lighting Styles

Needed for this class

  • Camera or cameraphone
  • A window w/daylight
  • A model if possible or you can take self-portraits

Portrait Lighting Styles

There are a 5 basic lighting styles for portrait photography. Each style is defined by how light falls on the face. The examples below were all shot with lights in a studio but you can replicate these patterns with window light.

  1. Rembrandt Light – the model is face forward, main light is at 45 degrees and casts a light on the opposite side of the face to form a triangle on the cheek.

Rembrandt Lighting
Michael B. Jordan. Photographer: Peggy Sirota

2. Broad Light-model’s face in 3/4 view-light falls on the side of the face with the visible ear. Good for controlling the reflections on glasses.

Danny Devito. Photographer: Gregory Heisler.

3. Short Light-model’s face is in 3/4 view, the light falls on the side of the face with the features. (Not on the side with the visible ear.)

Both of these are examples of short light.

Chadwick Boseman. Photographer: Caitlin Cronenburg

4. Butterfly Light, Clamshell or beauty or glamour light-model is face forward, front light.

Tyra Banks. Photographer: Matthew Jordan Smith

5. Split Light-model is face forward, the main light is at 90 degrees to the camera and falls on one side of the face. 

Lewis Wickes Hine (U.S.A., 1874–1940), One of the spinners in Whitnel Cotton Mfg. Co. N.C. December 1908.

When we shoot portraits in the studio, we can move the lights around the model. When shooting a portrait with a window, we have to ask the model to move their position in relation to the window.

This video shows how to use a window to create Rembrandt, split, broad and short light.

And while not exactly a portrait, window light is terrific for creating silhouettes.

To create a silhouette, have the subject stand close to the window and aim the camera towards the window. Set the exposure for what is outside the window so the subject is very underexposed.

Eleanor and Barbara. Chicago. 1954. Photographer: Harry Callahan.


Lab Exercises

Please complete the following lab exercises, creating a post on Openlab with the category indicated to share your results.

Homework Assignment

Final Project

Lab: Week 12 – Window Light Self-Portraits

Working very near a window, take a series of 8 self portraits. Not Selfies. Each image should convey a mood or a feeling. Your photos should use light, expression and the relationship between you and the surroundings to be expressive. No props. If you have curtains or venetian blinds, you may use them as elements in the photos.

Expression is important but it isn’t everything. Consider the position of your head, if the background is light or dark, how much contrast there is to the light.

If you are very close to the window and there are no other lights on in the room, you should be able to create a shot with a black background and high contrast. The further away from the window you are, the more even the light will be and the lower the contrast will be.

Variables to experiment with:

  • Head position: front view, 3/4 view, profile
  • looking at the camera and looking away from the camera
  • high and low contrast
  • low key and high key – (most of the tones are light or most of the tones are dark)

Lab: Week 12 – Wide Angle Distortion

Wide Angle Distortion is created when using a wide-angle lens AND the camera is very close to the subject. The object close to the lens appears abnormally large relative to more distant objects, and distant objects appear abnormally small and hence more distant – distances are extended. 

When shooting a portrait with a cameraphone, you can’t change your focal length unless you have an iPhone 11 or 12 and even so the choices are limited. But whatever camera you shoot with, you will see wide angle distortion in the photo if the camera is too close to the subject.

Take two photos of a model or yourself: one with wide angle distortion and one without.

If you are shooting with a cameraphone, take the first photo with the camera very close to your subject or your own face. Take the second photo with the camera at least at arm’s length, better yet on a tripod, home-made or otherwise.. You will need to crop the second photo in Lightroom to get the framing to be about the same.

There are times though when we want to use wide angle distortion. The exaggerated scale relationships can be used to be funny or dramatic.

Create two photos that use wide angle distortion to make a funny or surprising image.

Put the four photos in a post with the category Lab: Week 12- Wide Angle Distortion with an explanation of wide angle distortion. What is it? how do you create it and how do you avoid it. When do you want to avoid it and when might you want to use it?

Technical Note

When you are shooting with an iPhone camera, you can use the ear buds that come with the phone as a shutter release. Plug the ear buds into the phone and press the volume control to take the photo.

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