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Glam lighting vs: Portrait lighting?
Old 11-26-2006, 08:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I'm not sure about how to ask this question, but here goes. I'm aware of four major types of classic portrait lighting, short, broad, butterfly/paramount, and Rembrandt. And, for a classic portrait, one would possibley use a key, fill, background, and accent (hair mostly) as lighting setup. Now modern glamour lighting (aka Playboy) will use a ton of lights, Well, more than 4 or 5, more like 7 or more (way more) for the typicial glitzy, sparkley indoor shot. (rim lights, snoots, kickers, etc; etc. ) But, I've seen a few photos where the light is even throughout the photo and doesn't really look like it was changed from pose to pose. I've seen this in Playboy (a Merrit Kabal series comes to mind) and other glamour/lingerie/whatever. Is this being done with a boat load of natural light with some kind of fill flash, or are they throwing up a lot of light with big boxes? In the Merritt Kabal series that I'm thinking of there was a lot of natural light, but some type of flash used as you can see a small catch light (a ring flash I guess). The reason I ask this is that I seem to be having a problem with lighting a full body shot, either seated, standing, reclining...) and I'm wondering if once you go to a half or full body shot, if the four portrait lighting techniques still apply, or is there other techniqies that apply?

Btw, does anyone think the clapping hands thingy is a little bizzar looking?
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Re: Glam lighting vs: Portrait lighting?
Old 11-26-2006, 10:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Lighting techniques apply on what you want to light. Glamour can have several different techniques just like portraits can follow several techniques. Even fine art can have several techniques. What you are trying to get at is how to light what you want to achieve. Styling has a lot more to do with a title of glamour, portrait, etc.

I think I know what you are trying to ask. You want to cover a full body but you want depth in the scene.

A large light source will cover your full length. Now what you want to control is how does that light effect the rest of the scene.

You could use strip domes to control the direction and light fall off and still cover a full length. You can use leuvers on your large soft box to control the direction and minimize light fall off. You can use barn doors, flags and scrims to control the light direction and spray as well.

You see, this has more to do with light control vs lighting technique.

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Light is the Heart of an Image...
Old 11-27-2006, 12:27 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Interesting question, but before we get into lighting, let's look at glamour vs portraiture. First, the history of glamour goes back to the early 20's for Hollywood, there photographers like female photographer Ruth Harriett Louise (MGM Studios) photographed many glamour portraits of celebs, to glamorize them to the world. Portraits come in many forms, as a photojournalist we take not only the formal head & shoulders portraits, but environmental portraits too. Add to that, many portraits today are more glam than traditional (4-light) studio main, fill, key and background lights.

While it's true that Playboy will use over 20 lights at times to achieve what they call the "Playboy style" of photography, that is only one style normally reserved for their flagship magazine, not so much for their Special Edition shooters. You'd be suprised how much glamour is shot with one two three lights only. In fact my book cover of Playboy Playmate Holley Dorrough is one light with a Chimera 4-foot by 6-foot box. My Rangefinder (Sept. 06) cover of Playboy Special Editions model Laura F. is one light also, a ring-flash with the Hensel Sunhaze adapter. Still other styles use different techniques and methods to achieve the end result. Calabassas magazine out of Los Angeles loves their celeb photos taken with overlit backgrounds, often breaking the traditional rules of photography, while keeping the front properly exposed.

Last month I photographed a well-known, New York Times best sellling author (of 20 books already) for her upcoming books with one of the major publishers of New York--not only that unbeknownst to me, a one-book photo shoot turned into a two-book photo shoot--they along with the author wanted a "glamour" looking "portrait" that depicted their author's sexiness yet feminine personalty to fill the back of the book outside cover--a Mother, a Wife, but still sexy for her hubby look, like a lot of her readers. What was scheduled (and paid for) of a two-day shoot turned into a 3-hour shoot with two premium sales (1st print-run, hardcover 225,000 copies plus ads in People and New York Times, plus World-rights) and an 8-major-city book tour using my images. This was a serious assignment and big hit for me, with simple lighting. And because I kept it simple, the publisher wants to work with me even more--as they said, "funny how something can be done so easilty with very little lighting."

We kept the lighting very simple. This glam-port shoot used one-light at first with a Chimera Oct57 then we moved down the hall with a Chimera 48-inch strip light with a 40-degree grid, then we added a hair light (7-inch reflector with a 20-degree grid) (the author has darker hair) and intermixed it with ambient light--all shot in my home. Ultimately one main light, one hair light and some gentle, filtered window light. Soon I'll post an image or two when cleared by her manager, regardless it goes on sale March 2007.

They funny thing is they had seen my book and wanted my "style" but never once mentioned lighting until the shoot. That was left up to me. We met two weeks before at the author's house for one hour with her husband. While this meeting was to build rapport with the subject, it also helped me invision what I would need, in terms of lighting while they learned whom I am--we actually went over previous photos taken of her and photos I had taken of others to ger our minds in one direction. She was concerned about her, I was concerned about how to light what they wanted.

The moral of the story here, what a person needs to do first is determine what the end result will be in an the final image--previsualize--then consider the lighting issues--the fundamentals of lighting, Loop, Split, Paramount and Rembrandt don't change because you go from glamour to portraiture, one must know how to apply the light, the right light modifier for the right skin as well scene and back or foregrounds. While we didn't story-board anything, the author was very adament at our initial meeting that she was tired of going to New York and spending 30-minutes on a shoot, she wanted it done in reasonable time, but with the "light" and pose that made her look, glam, but natural. So we kept it simple with professional lighting and light modifiers.

The actual lamp head is one thing, but light modifiers is another, their size, shape and even color temperature at times can mean infinite possibilities. One has to learn to see light too then eventually feel the light. I might add, posing into the light also makes a huge difference in the end result.

Now down below I'll show you some simple images shot with simple light. I call them flamour, fashion tainted glamour portraits. Wishing you the best, oh, for the record, lighting is the heart of the image, posing is the body of the image and back/foreground is the framework of the image. Wishing you the best, rg sends!

(Image shot with straight reflector)
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Light is the Heart of an Image... 

(Image shot with exisiting window light)
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Light is the Heart of an Image... 

(Image shot with a three light set-up)
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Light is the Heart of an Image... 

(Image shot with light bounced into a California Sunbounce reflector)
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Light is the Heart of an Image... 

(Image shot with three lights)
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Light is the Heart of an Image... 

(Image shot with one light, a 22-inch beauty dish )
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Light is the Heart of an Image... 

(Image shot with two lights, two 7-inch reflectors with 20-degree grids and window light )
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Light is the Heart of an Image... 
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Re: Glam lighting vs: Portrait lighting?
Old 11-27-2006, 07:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks to both of you for replying. I guess it is going to boil down to taking a tool and learn what it is capable of. I guess this is why photography is still an art, and not all mouse clicks.
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Re: Glam lighting vs: Portrait lighting?
Old 11-28-2006, 10:44 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Don't get too caught up trying to match various lighting styles to preconceived notions about different genres.Subject-driven lighting doesn't necessarilly mean you match *a* subject to *a* lighting style. It means matching *the* subject to a lighting style if that makes sense.

These days, more than ever before, there's a lot of crossover between lighting styles and genres. The people who decide who's gonna shoot for them take this into consideration.

A while back, i was engaged to shoot some fashion images:A new line of men's underwear. The designer had hired a fashion consultant to help choose who would shoot his line. My name got thrown into the mix. (By an MUA I had worked with thank you very much.) Ultimately, i got the gig because, as the consultant told me: "We had four fashion shooters we were considering but you had the most experience shooting skin."

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Re: Glam lighting vs: Portrait lighting?
Old 11-28-2006, 11:53 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Great Question.

Great Answers.

This is one of the reasons that I joined this forum. The wealth of knowledge and the willingness to share said knowledge

Thanks
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