Saturday, April 05, 2014

One Light, Two Lights, Three Lights, Four

Click to Enlarge
How many lights are best for glamour photography? One light, two lights, three lights, four? There's no answer to that because all those numbers of lights can be equally effective depending on how they're used and, more importantly, how their uses help convey the story or emotional content of a given image.

Yes, glamour pics have emotional content. It might not always be as obvious as it is in other types of portrait work, or it might seem mostly the same throughout many of the images, but it's there, just the same, whether it's obvious or subtle.

Let's say I'm shooting with my typical, go-to, three-point lighting setup with my model in front of a white or very light-colored seamless background.  Sure, I'll have the model go through a range of emotions: upbeat emotions, downbeat emotions, and plenty in between. But later, when I'm looking through the images, I can't help but notice that my lighting, coupled with the background, generally lends itself better to the upbeat emotional content. That's because high-key images tend to work best with high-key, upbeat, emotional content while low-key images tend to work best with low-key, down-beat, emotions.

Those aren't ideas set in stone, of course.  But as a rule, leastwise as rules go, it's often the case.  Interestingly, the number of lights used in either scenario tends to have less impact underscoring the emotional content of the images than does the color or tone of the background. I can convey upbeat emotions in front of a white seamless as well with one light or four. Conversely, I can convey downbeat emotions as well with a single light as I can with a multiple-light setup with a black or dark colored seamless employed. We all can.

What's really going with that has everything to do with human perceptions and not so much the approach to the photography via lighting setups. That's not to say lighting doesn't still impact emotional perceptions of viewers, it does. But it might be secondary, probably is, to other elements of the image. Anyway, just another day of thinking out loud on my blog and recording and publishing it.

The emotionally up-beat image of the pretty young thing at the top was snapped with my go-to, three-point, lighting setup in front of a white seamless. I didn't light the seamless which is why it isn't white, at least start white. Personally, I think the white seamless contributes more to her emotional projection than does the lighting.

No comments: