Completing the ‘Backlit Photography Challenge’ is extremely difficult

Is one comprehensive photographer who can succeed in any situation is the ultimate goal of most photographers. However, what happens when you are forced to shoot portraits with light from below? Today, I take on the challenge.

Most photographers enjoy the comfort of using their most tried and true lighting techniques. Whether it’s lighting from 45 degrees with a large softbox, or using two top and bottom eight gears for that classic butterfly light, or maybe just using a bounce light that bounces off the ceiling, it’s easy. Easily find the lighting style that works best for the time and simply stick to it over and over again.

But what happens when you’re forced to light your subject in a way you’ve never tried before? Will you fall, or will you rise on the occasion? That’s the question I ask myself as I come up with the idea for a new series of photography challenges, which I hope will appear frequently on the web. Fstoppers’ YouTube channel. What results can one photographer come up with when another sets the main light position?

In the video above, I asked Lee to set up a photography challenge, and to be honest, I would be the guinea pig of my own creation. With a bit of cheating involved, I opted for the dreaded “lighting” setup. This lighting setup, where the main light is placed below the subject’s face, is often referred to as a “Thriller” light because a lot of villains and villains are lit this way to create much more sinister appearance. Aside from using light as a fill light for close-ups and stunning portraits, I’ve never really taken lighting techniques seriously in my work. Needless to say, this challenge won’t be easy, and that doesn’t even take into account my model’s wild and frantic wardrobe choices.

Basic Setup

If you’d like to recreate the last image I took and hope it’s good enough to inspire your creativity, I’ll outline a three-light setup below. Of course, watching the video above will answer any questions you may have and give you a better idea of ​​where everything is located. With this three-light setup, all flashes are Profoto gown B10 or B10x set to exactly the same power. The camera is a Nikon D850 and the Tamron 24-70mm lens is set to f/2.8 for a shallower depth of field.

Light key: The whole challenge is based on the main light that illuminates our subject. For this shot, I used Profoto OCF 2 ‘Collapsed Beauty Dish We recently went to the studio. I love beautiful traditional food, but traveling with one to Puerto Rico, where I currently live, is quite cumbersome, so I left it back to the Charleston studio.

While beauty treats are known for their soft, even light, I thought it would be interesting to use a dimmer without a soft diffuser (sometimes called socks). If you look at the beauty dish photo above, if placed at a particular angle you can get the unique effect of hard light spilling out of the opaque reflector mixed with some glitter bounce off the white edges on the dish. By tilting the disc towards the camera, I was able to add a bit of contrast to the subject’s face while also highlighting that the light didn’t spill into the lower part of the outfit. I’ve certainly used a beauty dish this way in the past, but never from below and never at an angle quite like what I’m describing.

The Edge Lights: Once I felt that the subject’s face was well lit and that the requirements for the “lighting challenge” had been met, I decided to help separate Charlie from the background. To help separate his hat and shoulders from the dark background, I used Profoto OCF strip box 1’x3′ put up and behind him. With this light directed down towards his shoulders, I was able to add a nice theatrical highlight around his entire body to give his image a more three-dimensional look. This edge light or edge light is what I love to do when I want to create a top image that better suits the feel of action, movies or video games.

Background light: The final light that I decided to use was the light sparkle on the Gravity backdrop just to pull out some texture and give a different tone to the area behind my subject. I could have used any kind of light modifier or even a bare shadow flash, but to really mute it, I used Profoto RFi 3 ‘Octabox mainly because I recently built that softbox for another shot featured on our YouTube Channel.

Final result

Below, I have posted the final image before and after I submitted. Usually, when shooting any YouTube content and especially a challenge video, I always know that the last photo you take is not always your best work. In this case, with something as challenging as shedding light on a crazy pirate captain/captain named Charlie, I’m not simply hoping for a good image but avoiding the clutter altogether. confused. However, I’m actually quite proud of the final image. Going through this process certainly gave me a second guess about the lack of light in my work.

As you can see in the before and after images, I didn’t really make a lot of adjustments to the image right from the camera. In Lightroom, I desaturated the image a bit and adjusted the overall contrast a bit, but most of the heavy lifting was done by planning my lighting and taking the time to confirm everything. the thing was fine before dropping 20-30 frames. After the image was taken and I opened it up on my computer, I decided to add a few layers or frosting and some out-of-focus overlays just to give it a bit of mystery, cohesion and a look. overall finishing.

With the first challenge behind me, I’m happy to pass the challenge on to all of you. Next time you have someone in front of your camera, take a moment during your shoot to try your hand at shooting using light and see if you can create something truly top-of-the-line worthy. fourth or not. You can post your best pictures below in the comments and we can all share our experiences.

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