Outdoor Example 1b

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Lighting Applications & Variations

Opportunities for using subtractive lighting abound.  This example used natural features to modulate the incident light from various directions, but manmade overhangs and walls can do much the same. 

Outdoor Lighting Diagram 1

Outdoor Example Portrait 1

Here is an example that shows an application of subtractive lighting.   A stand of dense foliage neighboring a open park  was used to block skylight and increase the difference in intensity of light across the subject's face.  The result is a nice shot with a lighting that provides a gentle yet noticeable modeling of the face. 

Outdoor Example 1c



 The Lighting Setup

The lighting for this example was entirely ambient.   There was no flash or reflector lighting to supplement the existing light.  Rather than add light, unwanted  light was blocked (subtracted) to get the desired result. The diagram for the setting is shown below and the subject position is indicated by the letter A.  The subject was shielded from any direct sunlight by row of smaller trees and a beech tree above her blocked nearly all of the skylight from directly above.     The frontal lighting consisted primarily  of indirect sunlight bounced off an open area of the park beyond the overhanging trees.  A splash of skylight along with bounced light from the open park area to the subject's right provided highlighting to define the contours of her face.    

A second example using this lighting is shown in the two images below the lighting diagram.  In the top image (example 1b), the subject was photographed in the position indicated by the letter B on the diagram.  In this location, only skylight to the right of the subject was partially blocked.  As a result, a large amount of the facial illumination is coming from above, yielding an image featuring dark eye sockets and broad areas of unflattering highlight.  In the bottom image (example 1c), the subject was moved under the beech tree where much of the skylight was blocked.  The improvement in the lighting is noticeable.