Exercise 3 – Experimenting with light

This exercise requires me to take four to six portraits of the same subject using different lighting effects. The images should be head and shoulder and if needed one of the images can be flash or studio lighting. We should use a fairly basic none distracting background where possible.

I decided to use my wife as the subject as it was much easier to travel around together and take images spaced over a two or three day period, mainly due to our work commitments and to add different clothing choices.

I decided to use natural lighting for the four images, but this could be almost endless with the options we have to use both natural and artificial lighting.

(click on any image to enlarge)


This image was taken in our garden, while Elaine sat under some shade reading a book. The lighting was fairly direct and bright and taken in the mid day sun, but due to the canvas covering overhead the lighting has produced a soft overall pleasing effect with soft shadows. No reflector was used but I could have been added just under the chin out of sight to help bring the shadow area out a little more for the eye line.



Here is an example of strong side lighting, still using natural light. I had Elaine stand fairly close to the window in the kitchen with a basic background to complement the composition. We can see the harder light area on the window side with a quick fall off of light on the right side of the image. I held a small reflector to help bring some of the light back onto the neck and hairline in the 1 o clock position.


Taken at night at a fun fair, this is an example of artificial light which is giving a strong colour cast. I didn’t remove the colour cast as the whole point is to see how the artificial light effects the skin tones.┬áNo reflector was used and the lights are situated above and to both side of Elaine’s face.


This image was taken close to a window with natural light, but the blinds were closed to help spread the light. Strong window light from the mid d ay sun is coming through the window, as can be seen be the light falling off in the rear of the image on the left shoulder and couch area. I think the fall off helps to bring the eye back to the brightest area which is the face. Given the choice I would opt for more images with various positions of the hand and have Elaine looking into different parts of the frame.


This was an interesting exercise and one I enjoyed to gain various effects of light and in different locations. I could have used the reflector more but wanted to try and use natural light as much as possible. I enjoyed adding images from different lighting sources from daylight and night.