Step-by-step Cre­ate dra­matic shad­ows

Practical Photography (UK) - - The Human Body -

1 Ar­range your light­ing setup

Whether you’re us­ing con­tin­u­ous home light­ing or a more pro setup with a flash, you’ll need to ar­range your lights in a sim­i­lar way. This tech­nique re­lies heav­ily on dra­matic light­ing, us­ing one sin­gle light source that you can di­rect any­where across the body. You may want to try side­light­ing to pro­duce heavy shad­ows that cre­ate a sense of mys­tery. Al­ter­na­tively, you could use an over­head light such as in the photo op­po­site. This will mimic a bright mid­day sun that il­lu­mi­nates the peaks while cast­ing the val­leys into shadow.

2 Bounce the light

You only need one light for this tech­nique, but if you feel that your im­ages are look­ing a lit­tle un­evenly lit then you may want to lift the shad­ows a lit­tle bit. To do this with­out adding a sec­ond light into the equa­tion, sim­ply use a re­flec­tor. You can eas­ily find dou­ble-sided re­flec­tors on­line that have both a white and a sil­ver side. If you think that your shot needs a lot of ad­just­ment, then use the sil­ver side, as it’s more re­flec­tive. If you’re with­out a re­flec­tor you could also use a sheet of white card in­stead.

3 Light your back­ground

Your model’s body is un­doubt­edly the star of this show, how­ever don’t for­get that your back­drop is im­por­tant as well. If you want to mimic a dra­matic moun­tain­scape, then you’ll need to think about how to light the back­ground. You may want to in­tro­duce a light to com­pletely il­lu­mi­nate the wall, or al­ter­na­tively you can leave it cast in dark­ness. Ei­ther way, you’ll have a neu­tral back­ground against which you can show­case your model’s body. Cre­at­ing a grad­u­ated light on your back­ground in­stead will mimic a sky at sun­set.

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