Layered Lighting

Friday, March 29, 2019 from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM (EST) More Information →

As one progresses from being a good photographer too being a great photographer, one begins to pay attention to the quality of light in a scene and the subtle nuances in lighting that have a considerable impact on an image. Those subtle nuances in light and your beginning to control them, take a flat, lifeless scene and transform it into something that has dimension and realism. As you begin to embrace more and more complicated lighting scenarios, you start to move away from merely pouring light into a scene, and you start to think about modifying light in ways that allow for its specific placement within a scene. As you begin to separate background from subject and subject from foreground, you are starting to light in layers. As you identify these layers and individually light them, you also begin to think about lighting differentials and shadow creation within and between layers. You are finally beginning to control lighting creatively and artistically. In our class, Layered Lighting, we explore both the technical and aesthetic sides of layering with light.

Our class begins with a discussion on the power of light. Not power in a moving way, though that is important as well, rather power in terms of how light behaves and the mathematical certainty that exists when using light over distances. Though it could be more in depth, we try to minimize the math here and instead concentrate on working through a number of hands-on examples that illustrate and solidify your understanding of light falloff in a scene. Once you can accurately assess how a light source is going to behave, you can, with complete control, decide where you do and do not want that light to be within your scene. With this understanding and control over light, you can selectively illuminate layers within your image and begin to treat each layer uniquely with the ability to control light levels by layer.

We continue our exploration of layered lighting, by beginning to think about multiple lights per layer. Now that we know how to isolate layers, we can turn our attention to how would we like to craft that light on a layer by layer basis. As an example, we might elect to control the light very deliberately in our subject layer, building in shadows and texture where we want them to be. It is possible to sculpt subject faces and bodies straightforwardly and dramatically or control an object’s implied size by the manner in which we control the light that surrounds it. We refer to this difference in enveloping lights as a differential, but we simply mean to say that we are managing the difference in the power of the surrounding lights. The class will work through a number of examples and scenarios where we carefully sculpt light in a layer, by using various light levels to create the desired effect.

We will conclude our course with an exploration of some advanced light modifiers and the effect that they can impart in a layered scene. As we work through various examples of different modifiers, we will begin to discover the ways that we can expect light to behave dependent upon the distance it is from the layer it is lighting. Specifically, our exercises will begin to showcase how to create either soft or hard light on demand, and at will create the desired dramatic impact in an image. By the time we have finished this last section fo the course, we will have covered the necessary knowledge and approach to have you begin to think of and light scenes in very specific layers, with the desired level of drama in the image.

Course Prerequisites:

Participants enrolling in this class should have the following knowledge / experiences prior to attending this class:

General use of their camera system
Use and operation of their camera in Manual Exposure mode
Use and operation of their camera in Manual Focus mode
Use and operation of their camera’s hot shoe, including ensuring that their camera will standard hot shoe

General Prerequisites:

You will want to bring a functioning DSLR camera, which has adequate battery power and storage space so that it can be used for shooting images for an approximately 4 hour period. A lens or lenses that allow you to frame subjects in a variety of positions and distances such that the subject can be photographed as a headshot image, or alternately as a full body pose. Given studio space a zoom lens in the 24-70mm range (full frame sensor measurement) would be in ideal. Those with multiple lenses might consider 35mm, 50mm and 85mm as ideal focal lengths for this workshop.