Join Seán Duggan for an in-depth discussion in this video Matching studio lighting to location shots and lighting the background for masking, part of Photographing for Compositing in Photoshop.
- Alright well we're here at the studio and our talent has arrived. Brett's come in to help us out with this shot. Thanks very much. - No problem. - And so we're set up in the studio that's normally configured for video production but that'll work for our purposes. The main thing that is on my mind here in terms of lighting this shot is I want the lighting to match the situation that I had out at the coast as close as possible. So the lighting conditions out at the coast, it was an overcast day, soft even light.
The good thing about an overcast day is that the cloud cover actually acts like a big soft box, and it creates a very flattering light. It's really good for portraits. So what we have set up in here to try to match that as close as possible is we do have a large soft box overhead. It's actually a silk stretched on a frame with lights up above it. And that's creating this nice overall soft light. It's not exactly the same as what we had out at the coast, but it's pretty close. One thing I was noticing when I did some test shots is that the light falls off in intensity the further we get down to the floor because of course the closer you are to a light source, the brighter and more intense that light's gonna be.
So it falls off a little bit so in order to kick in a little bit of fill light to make it a little bit more even here, we have a light set up here that's bouncing into a reflector card. So if I turn that up we can see what that does. You can see how that's kicking in some fill there. It's maybe a bit too bright. We'll just back it off a little bit. Something like that looks pretty good. So overall, I think that that looks pretty workable. And the main thing to keep in mind if you're trying to come up with you know, matching lighting to a location situation yourself is that if you are trying to create soft diffused lighting, you need to work with large light sources.
Either soft boxes or lights shot through silk panels or lights bounced onto large reflector cards. You want to stay away from small directional point sources of light because that's gonna create really hard contrasty lighting. Now I have a reference shot over here that we took out at the coast yesterday. And if we take a look at this, you can see how the light is very soft and even on Brett there. No real, you know, deep hard shadows there. Just really nice light. So overall, I think that what we have going on here is gonna work pretty well to match the lighting.
Let's take a look at what's going on with the backdrop. So for compositing, when you're shooting a subject against a backdrop, the main thing you wanna keep in mind, if the aim is to take them out of that photo and place them somewhere else is that you wanna have good tonal separation between the edge of your subject and the backdrop. So that's why we shoot against an uncomplicated background. Doesn't have to be in a studio of course, could be at a just a blank wall somewhere. But in this white cyclorama here, I set up some lights earlier because I thought well maybe I want to light the backdrop.
But that actually made it too bright because when I was exposing for the light that was falling on Brett, the backdrop would just blown out. It was too bright. And what happens when you have a white or a very light backdrop that gets blown out like that, it can cause edge fringing almost like a halo because there's so much light coming this way and sort of spilling over the edge and it just, along the edge of the shoulder here and the edge of the sleeve here, just created this obvious color fringing. And that's something I just didn't want to deal with.
There's ways you can deal with that in Photoshop to remove that, but if you can light it correctly from the get go, that's the better solution because you don't have to fix it in post. So I decided based on the test shots that we didn't need to light the backdrop. We're just gonna shoot it this way. And again, provides good tonal separation which is exactly what we need to be able to take Brett out of this background and put him in the location on the coast. So the next thing to sort out is the focal length and the perspective to match what we shot at the coast.
- Types of composites
- Using blend modes to create composites
- Creating an image library for compositing
- Photographing location elements
- Using props
- Photographing in the studio
- Composite projects