Dissect lighting

Edward Yezekian (EY Photo) 4:28pm, 6 February 2013
So, i know it's difficult to say on an image so post processed. My inclination is that it is lit flatly, and everything else is done in post.

The catch lights look to be 2 strip lights in a V pattern left and right, which in my mind would eliminate such shadowing.

I was debating this image with another photographer, and they said the shadows are definitely burned to a degree, but doesn't think they were manufactured. said the cross pattern of the light can be responsible for creating the shadows on the opposite side of the nose... my answer is yeah, but then the light on that side would fill that shadow...

Anyway, what does this group think... shadows enhanced, or created?

John Adkins II PRO Posted 5 years ago. Edited by John Adkins II (member) 5 years ago
I'm going to guess two strip lights in front of the model and very close together, then some killer editing. Just a guess tho

EDIT: oh yeah, its very hard to see, but I think there is background light as well

The photographer's on Flickr, you could always message him and ask.
true, but I thought it would be a good exercise for the group, to try to dig under Photoshop.
Easy Mark 5 years ago
Could be two strip lights and a background light.

I have seen this done where they had two flats at 45-degree angles (or there about) and shot the lights into the flats to bounce onto the models. I don't think the lighting was as controlled as the photo you linked to above, so I a going to go with the strip lights idea first.
the strip lights are pretty evident by the catch-lights. the question for me is, with this lighting, are those shadows in the sides of nose created, or just enhanced?

I say created, but maybe there is a technique i am not aware of that can cross two strips across a nose and not fill each other.
another suggestion given by another photographer is shadow created on one side by a strong key and weak fill, then the shadow side flipped in post and blended. given the symmetry... this seems plausible as well.
AtlantaTerry 5 years ago

Image cut in half then flipped.
John Adkins II PRO 5 years ago
Those shadows don't look perfectly symmetrical to me. I seriously bet you can do this with feathered (or even gridded) strip boxes.
Between Planets 5 years ago
I also don't think that the left and right sides are so perfectly symmetrical (eg, collar bone) but there is so much processing that it's not impossible for such imperfections to be introduced intentionally!

Because I was so curious, I created a version with just the left half plus it's mirror image and it's strikingly similar (but not identical) to the 'original'! The only conclusion I can take away from this is that if this wasn't a mirror image, then this model has an unusually symmetrical face!

However, here's another alternative explanation: the lighting is otherwise so suggestive of a single light source from camera axis that maybe it's the catchlights in the eyes that have been doctored to imply two strip lights??
Edward Yezekian (EY Photo) Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Edward Yezekian (EY Photo) (member) 5 years ago
whats the motivation to suggest different catch lights. and if they were being done in post, wouldn't they look a little more perfect? i guess the point is to not make it look "too" perfect. dunno. may be a mystery.

this is interesting, i'll let this run its course, then i'll ask the photographer to chime in if he would like to.
very1silent PRO 5 years ago
FYI, the photographer had this to say about the image:

It is not 3D as someone said! It is a real photo and I slightly touched her skin with retouching and made her eyes more bright! Her name is Lena, she is from iqmodels agency, and after our working I would prefer to think that she is from the Cosmos too!

You could of course ask Oleg for more details...
Between Planets 5 years ago
Edward Yezekian (EY Photo):
whats the motivation to suggest different catch lights

My reasoning was: what if the single light source created one large catchlight that covered most of the pupil? That would look weird so why not paint over it with black in the middle of each eye? I know I'm probably just clutching at straws!
no, seems plausible. but to my eye they look like two distinct light sources, most likely strip boxes, or possibly a saber strip type of modifier. again, it's possible the artist put them in after, if he had good reason too...
wbyoungphotos PRO 5 years ago
Highly enhanced, to a degree it appear unnatural...
The shadows around the bone structures are too uniform to be real.
But it is nice, in a way that attracts your attention.
Alfredk PRO Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Alfredk (member) 5 years ago
Two strip boxes for fill and a single main light, possible gridded or fresnel from above.

If the strip lights would be the main lights, there would be no shadows on either side and the shadow would be in the middle.
The shadows might be enhanced but mainly created by the lighting IMHO
Ohhh yes and one light on the back for separation!

Don't getconfused by the catch lights, they are only specular reflection of the rather week fill!
Interesting Alfred... that 3rd gridded/projected light source cant be too high though, it would have to be near axis, otherwise the shadows would have been cast down under the nose more. and then it would have been visible in the catchlight. of course it could be cloned out after...

great point tho, and worth exploring! need a 5 degree grid now!
John Adkins II PRO Posted 5 years ago. Edited by John Adkins II (member) 5 years ago
. Alfredk: I very respectfully disagree on the single main light, if there was one, (from above) you'd have to see a shadow under her nose, lips or chin. If it was closer to on axis, you'd see the reflection of it in her eyes

EDIT: Also, if you pull those strips forward, in front of her, and not beside her, I still think you can create those shadows on her nose. I will definitely try this when I get home. If the edges of the softbox closest to her, are lined up on the center of her nose (and you have a good enough edge on your strips) you should be able to generate those shadows and not fill them with the opposing softbox.
Edward Yezekian (EY Photo) Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Edward Yezekian (EY Photo) (member) 5 years ago
John Adkins II I agree with you, and Alfred.

It makes sense to have a tight beam on horizontal AND near vertical axis of the lens. the sides of the nose would not reflect light back to the lens because of the law of angle of incidence = angle of reflection (thanks Wiz), they they would remain dark, with the weak fill on the sides, just to reveal detail.

the specular for the on axis key would have likely been distracting, and cloned out.
Alfredk PRO Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Alfredk (member) 5 years ago
Having looked at it again, I do agree with you that there might be another light from below.

My revised lighting scheme :))

One gridded light from above, reflector from below and two strips for fill! 5 years ago
Alfred was observant.
If it were only lit by strip lights there would be a much (or relatively none) shadow under the apple on her cheeks.
The speculars on her nose, the tip and bridge tell me a little more. Just like the angle of incidence of the speculars on her cheeks.
John Adkins II PRO 5 years ago
Alfredk PRO 5 years ago
Edward Yezekian (EY Photo):

Ed the one picture where you used the black cards is probably as close as I would get and I would do the rest in PS.
John Adkins II PRO Posted 5 years ago. Edited by John Adkins II (member) 5 years ago

I don't have a runway model with chiseled features, but I do have a pretty cute daughter that is almost always willing to pose for me.

So here is my attempt at the portrait above. I forgot to shoot it in landscape mode, but other than that, its lit with 2 Nikon SB-800s in Westcott Strip boxes camera left and right, facing each other and about a foot in front of her and feathered back slightly towards the camera.

Another Nikon SB-800 with a full CTO gel is behind her on the background at minimal power. For post work, I did a little dodge and burning, a removed some pimples and smoothed her skin.

The editing took about 10 mins, but probably could've done it quicker if she hadn't been watching me while I was doing it. :)

rafer cruz1 5 years ago

what's the photoshop mirror theory???
rafer cruz1 5 years ago
John Adkins II:

very nice!!! thanks for the tutorial as well
It's just Mark PRO 5 years ago
John Adkins II:

Awesome ,man.
Thanks for doing this.
Nionyn_ PRO 5 years ago
John Adkins II:

I really really like the way you so often respond to these types of thread by getting off your arse and actually making and lighting a photo (or three) to try your ideas out. Oh, and showing your results to the group, of course. :-)
So much better than endless theorising - and you end up with cool photos too!
Thanks. Seriously. :-)
John Adkins II PRO Posted 5 years ago. Edited by John Adkins II (member) 5 years ago
Thanks you guys, and you're very welcome! I enjoy doing stuff like this and I almost always learn a new trick in the process. I don't mind sharing either because I've learned an awful lot from many other generous folks in this group.

EDIT, I probably should've cranked up the power a bit on the background. On my main PC, I can see a little highlight on the background around her neck and shoulders area, but on my IPad its pretty dark. Guess its time to calibrate my monitor again.
Edward Yezekian (EY Photo) Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Edward Yezekian (EY Photo) (member) 5 years ago

Thanks John! great Demo. this is what this group is all about. too many threads on here are arguing semantics, and endless theories. mental masturbation at it's worst. Personally, I enjoy the "what trigger to buy" threads better.

Between Planets 5 years ago
John Adkins II:

Thanks John - you've clearly nailed it. Now can you do this one too??!

Vinson Images 5 years ago
John Adkins II:

i'm the photographer that brought this question up in another group. thanks for breaking it down John! this is exactly what i was thinking! don't have strip boxes though so i couldn't give it a go myself... 5 years ago
Well done John.

You're my heeero!
John Adkins II PRO 5 years ago
Welcome you guys!

Between Planets:

Looks to me like a standard reflector on a head boomed above. Either that girl's dress is reflecting light back on to her face or maybe she's holding something reflective in her hand. It would be kinda hard to duplicate though without that outfit.

Nickgphoto LOL
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