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The Elements of Effective Photographs
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Two-light setup


From:

The Elements of Effective Photographs

with Natalie Fobes

Video: Two-light setup

So this is where we ended the last movie, with a key, or main, light. Now we're going to add a second light. It will be filling in the shadows. That's why we call it a fill light. The exposure for both of them is about F/11, and they're placed about three feet away from Margo. Now see how the shadows have disappeared? Everything is evenly lit. Now Margo, can you smile for me? Oh! That's great! That's very nice.

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The Elements of Effective Photographs
1h 36m Beginner Aug 30, 2011

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In this course, Pulitzer-nominated photographer Natalie Fobes takes viewers into the studio and on location to explore the many elements that combine to make an effective photo.

The course explores compositional elements that guide a viewer's eye, including the rule of thirds; leading lines, patterns, and curves; and depth of field. Natalie then details the roles of color and light in a photo. She shows how to work with the natural light in a room or outdoor location, and how to enhance it using reflectors, newspapers, a T-shirt, or whatever might be handy. She also shows some simple indoor lighting setups that can replicate the look of natural light.

The course continues with a look at movement and how a photographer can convey a sense of motion by blurring part of the image or freezing a fast-moving subject. Next, Natalie explores the concepts of peak action and the decisive moment—those split seconds that capture the essence or emotion of a subject or scene. The course wraps up with a discussion of the roles of planning and research in creating effective photos.

Subjects:
Photography Photography Foundations
Author:
Natalie Fobes

Two-light setup

So this is where we ended the last movie, with a key, or main, light. Now we're going to add a second light. It will be filling in the shadows. That's why we call it a fill light. The exposure for both of them is about F/11, and they're placed about three feet away from Margo. Now see how the shadows have disappeared? Everything is evenly lit. Now Margo, can you smile for me? Oh! That's great! That's very nice.

Her smile really works with this lighting. Now I'm going to move the second light, the fill light, back to about twice the distance, and we can see how the shadows are starting to change. They're a little bit deeper, but very beautiful, very dimensional in their look on her face. Now go ahead and smile again. There you go. Big smile! There you go. Okay, it works so well with her expression.

Now I'm going to move a little bit back further, and you can see that the shadows are starting to deepen and look at the line between the highlights and the shadows. It's really starting to get contrasty again. Now give me another smile please, yeah. The expression is still beautiful, but with the lighting message that I'm starting to give, it's not quite as good. I'm really going to move back.

So now, you can really see how the shadows have deepened and check out again that line between highlight and shadow. Okay, now give me a smile. You know it's a little bit too contrasty for that expression, and so with this lightning, I think I want a more subtle look. Can you just a little, and now let's try a serious look. There you go. So what is the right lighting for this portrait? As with everything in lighting, it's subjective, and it really depends on your lighting message.

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