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Lighting Applications & Variations

This specialty lighting was assembled to emulate the Hollywood look.  You can tweak the ratios between the main and fill lighting somewhat and reposition the main light and subject for a variety of classic-looking images.

Diffusion can have a big impact on the look of the images.  This particular portrait was created with moderate-to-light diffusion (Tiffen SoftFX #2).  I'd use lighter diffusion for males, and somewhat heavier diffusion for a dreamier look. 

 If you are lucky enough to have a focusing Fresnel unit for your flash system, use it instead of the grid and head used for the main light here. 



The portrait was scanned from a silver-gelatin print. 



Lighting Diagram 4.3b (side view)

Lighting Diagram 4.3a (top view)

Example Portrait 4.3

Here is a lighting setup that does a credible job of mimicking the look of 1930's Hollywood portraiture.  Modern strobe heads with grids stand in for the tungsten Fresnel spots and a strobe fitted with a parabolic reflector and diffuser replace the scoop or soft-light fill of the past.


The Lighting Setup

The  lighting apparatus used for this portrait is shown in diagram 4.3a (top view) and  4.3b (side view) below.  The main light consisted of a monolight  fitted with medium grid.  This main light was positioned  high and on the side the face opposite the camera,  producing short lighting with a Rembrandt pattern.  A strobe head with a medium-fine grid was positioned on a boom above and behind the subject as a hair light.  An incident measurement of this light at the hair indicated a reading one f-stop less than the main light .   Another strobe head was fitted with a sheet of diffusion material and aimed at the spattered dark-gray background (Westcott Charcoal).  An incident reading at the background indicated this light to be 1.5 f-stops brighter than the main light, resulting in a lightening of the background tone.  Finally, a fill light,  consisting of a monolight with a 16" parabolic reflector and diffuser, was positioned immediately to the right of the camera and on level with the subject's nose. This light was set to 2.5 f-stops less than the main light as measured at the subject.