Tuesday, September 17, 2019


Because we have total control of lighting in the studio it is the best environment to create dramatic lighting. It’s all about direction of light and creating shadows. The fastest way to kill dramatic lighting is the use of a fill light.   That’s why I quit using any fill light in my studio over ten years ago. The most I use to soften shadows is a reflector—and even then I usually use a soft white; rarely do I use silver. 

One of the most dramatic lighting pattens used in the studio is Profile Lighting. In Profile Lighting even the reflector is not needed…
f13.0 @ 1/200 sec., ISO 200; Lens @ 105mm
Profile Lighting is a simple 3-Light setup:
  • The Main Light is at 90° relative to camera with the subject looking towards the light.
  • One grided background light (set @ f8.0)
  • One Hair light (set @ f11.0)
It’s simple in the number of lights used, but as usual, the placement and intensity of each light is critical in a successful outcome.

Here’s the original color studio image…
Original Color Image
Nowhere near as dramatic as my final Black and White image this was just my raw material to start with. In our film days this would have been our stopping point!

Processing the file:
  • I first opened it in NIK’s Silver Efex Pro 2, single image, Tone Mapping; Used Deep 2.
  • B&W conversion in NIK’s Silver Efex Pro 2 using their Fine Art preset-modified to my taste.
  • Noise reduction in NIK’s Define 2.
It’s remarkable how far we can take a digital file today to create our vision of a final image. However, it’s still important that we start with a good basic image; with highlights controlled and Light and Shadows where we want them.

As always, don’t hesitate to ask questions…’Til next week…

Author: Jerry W. Venz, PPA Master Photographer, Craftsman

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