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Keith_A_Howe
10-01-2010, 06:49 PM
Lighting—the use and control of light—refers to how dimension, shape and roundness are defined in an image. Whether the light applied to an image is manmade or natural, proper use of it should enhance an image.

Gonna stick my neck out here and say that lighting is probably the biggest screw up area for newcomers to competition. It is also the downfall of many composited images when the light does not match on the different elements.

So let's see some examples of good and bad lighting. Consider direction, ratio, specularity, mood, etc. Here is an image of Holly's. It's never been entered but it shows using light to create a mood. The direction of light also serves as a subliminal leading line. We discussed leading lines in the composition thread.

http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p308/imager410/PerkinsE-373webpost.jpg

Tss1203
10-04-2010, 12:54 AM
Gonna stick my neck out here and say that lighting is probably the biggest screw up area for newcomers to competition.




I would agree.
I'm always struggling with getting the ratios where I want them....

Jeff_Dachowski
10-04-2010, 02:59 PM
My questions is...where did you get those awesome chairs?

GregYager
10-04-2010, 04:42 PM
I get the feeling that there's a story behind the chairs.

On another note. I've been struggling with the whole idea of detail in the shadow areas. I sometimes shoot images that have deep shadow areas with little or no detail. In looking at some of the cpp reviews of others work I'm reading that no detail is a bad thing. Should I be trying to keep at least minimal detail in these areas? I'll find an image to post as an example so you can see what I mean.

Keith_A_Howe
10-05-2010, 12:56 AM
Greg, CPP review is a whole different thing from print competition. Don't confuse yourself by trying to draw similarities between the two. In CPP review you are trying to prove competence. So of course you should successfully demonstrate that you can control light well enough to maintain detail in the shadows and highlights. In print competition you are trying to create impact or tell a story or convey an emotion or mood. IF the story is best told by having parts of the image obscured in shadow with very little detail ( like maybe to suggest the subject has hidden secrets for example) then that might be the best choice for that image. If detail is lost just because of lacking technical proficency and not because it improves the image, then it's a bad thing. Think of CPP review as a technical review and print competition as an artistic competition that requires technical excellance as a base minimum. That might make it easier to understand the difference.

Jeff, I got the chairs at Walmart.

Keith

Missy50
10-05-2010, 02:28 AM
Thanks for clarifying that Keith. As one about to submitfor cpp, I was looking at the image and had to remind myself that this is for an element of competition.

Love the lighting.

Keith_A_Howe
10-05-2010, 02:38 AM
Just to clarify because it may not be obvious on a moniter, there is of detail in the shadows on the image I posted.

Keith

Missy50
10-05-2010, 02:42 AM
I could see it on my work monitor. I just calibrated this morning. I cannot see it on my laptop. I do not think it can be calibrated.

Jeff_Dachowski
10-05-2010, 04:22 AM
Jeff, I got the chairs at Walmart.

Keith

Keith,
Wow, Your walmart rocks!

Mine does not.
Jeff

GregYager
10-05-2010, 04:29 AM
Makes a lot more sense now Keith. I have been confusing the two since day one of being here I think. Covering this one element at a time is making me feel much better about the whole process.

Keith_A_Howe
10-05-2010, 04:09 PM
I could see it on my work monitor. I just calibrated this morning. I cannot see it on my laptop. I do not think it can be calibrated.

Missy
I do not know what tool you have to calibrate your monitor. For what it's worth I know that Photomunki will calibrate monitors, laptops, and projectors.
Keith

Missy50
10-05-2010, 04:22 PM
Missy
I do not know what tool you have to calibrate your monitor. For what it's worth I know that Photomunki will calibrate monitors, laptops, and projectors.
Keith

I think my old dell lappy is not calibratible. I have never tried. Since I do not edit photos on it...

Kirk posted a very good report on monitors. And launched me into a new world of monitor understanding (as I had no clue...). I use spyder3pro. Seems to do well. Perhaps I should try it on my old lappy, but when I press my finger to the monitor the fingerprint it leaves behind indicates that it is not worth fooling with.

The only details that show up and zits and flyaway hairs.

Keith_A_Howe
10-09-2010, 06:18 PM
So is nobody interested in lighting? Nobody have samples to share or images where they have questions about the lighting?

Keith

Linda_Gregory
10-09-2010, 06:39 PM
I have one. I'm not sure about the lighting, if it's too strong of shadows for the subject. I know Mom loved it but for a competition standpoint...I so don't trust myself. It's not a lighting issue but the shoulder directly to the camera makes me question.

GAA!! this circular thinking is why I've left competition for the last two years. I can do the fine art but I'm making my money with portraiture so that's what I want to enter.

http://www.lindagregory.com/katie.jpg

GregYager
10-09-2010, 08:13 PM
Linda, if that's strong shadows I'm in a world of hurt. I like the image btw but I tend to use a lot more shadow.

GregYager
10-09-2010, 08:40 PM
Here are a few samples of what I've shot recently

http://www.mymorganfield.com/forumimages/SplitLightWhiteLowRes.jpg

http://www.mymorganfield.com/forumimages/CrossLightLowRes.jpg

http://www.mymorganfield.com/forumimages/YagerStudios-0087MatLowres.jpg

GregYager
10-09-2010, 09:23 PM
Here's one more. Like I said, a lot more shadows. Not sure if that's a good thing or not so I figured this would be a good place to find out.

Linda_Gregory
10-09-2010, 10:51 PM
Greg, your little girl is in a low key setting. Mine is in a high key setting which to me would dictate fewer shadows.

I like the shadow pattern but wonder if the left side of her face (our right) is too dark, making it look moody?

GregYager
10-09-2010, 11:02 PM
You're probably right Linda(looking too moody) I just like shadow because it brings out things like her dimples and defined cheeks.

You brought up another good point that's looming in my mind though, high key and low key. Is there such thing as mid key? To me low key is where the face or subject is the brightest thing in the image and high key is where the background is the brightest thing. That's my simple way of looking at it. Going by that I would say yours was mid key as the background and face are relatively close. Thanks in advance for being my guinea pig on that question. :D

I used the first image(senior) as an example of shadow usage in high key. And yes, his shirt shined like that in real life not just the image. Drove me nuts in editing.

GregYager
10-10-2010, 09:08 PM
I guess you can skip that question about Mid-Key. Did my research and realized it did exist.

I know that sounds silly to not know but until joining PPA i really wasn't around anyone that spoke the photographer language. I knew what I was shooting just never had a reason to figure out what it was called.

It's the simple things like this that entertain me. I'm like a kid in a candy store here.

Linda_Gregory
10-10-2010, 09:18 PM
Yeah, mid key would define it...I was just going with the feel of the white dress and lighter overall appearance.

Keep studying, keep dropping nuggets, k?

GregYager
10-10-2010, 09:45 PM
Keep studying, keep dropping nuggets, k?

That's my plan and I'm sticking to it.

On a side note I declared my CPP candidacy and plan to take the exam in Springfield, IL on Oct 24th. I know that's different from the competition criteria we're discussing but I see many helpful parallels.

Keith_A_Howe
10-12-2010, 01:31 AM
I have one. I'm not sure about the lighting, if it's too strong of shadows for the subject. I know Mom loved it but for a competition standpoint...I so don't trust myself. It's not a lighting issue but the shoulder directly to the camera makes me question.
[/IMG]

Linda this is not too dark shadows or too high of a ratio. The catchlights seem to be in the correct place but the nose shadow tells me your main needed to be higher and a little more around to the side. This little girl would be an excellant model for competition. Yes, you are correct the shoulder is a bit of an issue, I would have liked to see her shoulders turned a bit toward camera. The bigger problem is the crop! Cutting her arm at the wrist gives a psychologically uncomfortable feeling. Notice how the arm of the chair is the brightest thing in the image and draws the eye. I believe there could be a competition image within this image. I do not see it as a definate merit but close, at least deserving of review, 78-79 with a chance at a merit. A lot would depend on how well it was worked up and the title. The issues with the main light being to low and too close to camera are what might hold it back. Here is my very quick rendition in color. This might be good printed as a bw on watercolor paper or in color on glossy F surface paper. I would have to see them to know for sure which I would like best.
http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p308/imager410/littlegirlC.jpg

Keith_A_Howe
10-12-2010, 01:42 AM
Well, I should have known better then to post without showing this to Holly first. She said I cropped it wrong and after she showed me the version below, I have to agree with her. ( Dang it! She is always right!) This will depend on whether you have more space on the original file or you can successfully extend the background without creating technical issues. This version has more impact. I thought about it some more and would not do this on watercolor. I think it is best to stay with the color version. Holly's crop does not have any artwork done to it, which of course you would need to to do and be sure to take that branch out of the background.
Keith

http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p308/imager410/littlegirlcrop2.jpg

Keith_A_Howe
10-12-2010, 02:28 AM
Greg
High Key is considered white or pastels, medium key is the mid tones and low key is dark tones to black. So a Linda's little girl is a medium key image. Your young man on white is a mixed key image, the main image is high key because of the background and his shirt, but his vest is low key. While mixed key can work in some imags usually it is a distraction. In this image the vest is drawing attention, which then shows all the issues with the twist and folds in his sleeves and vest. The key of the image is determined by the majority of the image area. Not by the relationship of the subjects face to the background. I hope this is helps clearify keys.
To get to the lighting.
I feel like I am picking on this image but here goes.
Using a kicker light can be dramatic when used correctly but can really distract when it becomes to strong or is used incorrectly. A good kicker is subtle, skimming along the side of the face on the oppisite side from the main light. Here we have kicker on his left side that is too strong, brighter than the main light. There is a kicker on his right side that combined with the other kicker gives the feeling that there is light spilling onto the subject from the background lights. This kicker on his right side also dilutes the main light taking away the drama that could be with in this lighting pattern. I gotta go for now but will come back to the other images when I get a bit of time here.
Thanks for posting.
Keith

GregYager
10-12-2010, 06:42 AM
Keith,
I honestly don't mind you picking on them at all. I picked these for a reason.

The shirt was driving me mad and everything he had was a drastic contrast. I was basically having a hard time all around with this session. I was posting these originally to show Linda how much shadow I tend to use. I'm sure they could have been shot much better but I think they are good examples of what not to do which in the context of this thread makes them useful to you.

The second image(black background) was shot using 2 lights if that helps any.

The third image was done with 3 lights and is pretty much sooc like the first 2 with the exception of the border.

I had a 4th image posted to show what I felt was better lighting but realized I needed to remove it because I had it in the CPP section as well.

Most of the images I post are the ones I feel are lacking in some way. By figuring out how I screwed them up helps me more than hearing praise on my better ones so please feel free to rip 'em apart. :)

Linda_Gregory
10-12-2010, 05:06 PM
Keith, yes, we talked (and you showed) how I have been positioning my lights too low on your driveby class. :)

This image was one of the first taken of her session, getting her used to the flash and me and the whole process. The goal was to get her to sit on the bench but I loved the image as did Mom. I hadn't considered it for comp maybe because of the grab manner captured it. The lights were set up for her to sit yet looking at them, the lights are still too low for the pattern in her eyes. Her HAIR on the other hand, wanted to shade her eyes. Getting any sort of reflector under her face would have been difficult as fast as she moved. I am assuming this compromise, although acceptable for studio/sales would not be for competition?

Keith_A_Howe
10-12-2010, 06:14 PM
I am assuming this compromise, although acceptable for studio/sales would not be for competition?

Linda, this lighting IS acceptable for competition. Heck we see a lot worse come through. The question should be how well the lighting works with the story and subject. Along with the other elements of course. Lighting plays a big part of impact that we will talk about later. Here in this image the result is that it would probably be in the review area whereas the same image with a more dramatic lighting and a little twist to the shoulder might be in the deserving of merit category (ideally an 82 or above as it would not come back for review).
Keith

GregYager
10-12-2010, 07:07 PM
I like the brighter version in the crop Holly made. In comparison the earlier version looks dull.

GregYager
10-13-2010, 04:19 AM
Would this be considered an acceptable improvement over the sooc version posted earlier?
http://www.mymorganfield.com/forumimages/shortlightedit01.jpg

ChontelleBrown
10-13-2010, 01:32 PM
I hadn't considered it for comp maybe because of the grab manner captured it.

Linda,
I have a loan print from this year that was a 'grab' image. I was getting ready to test my light one Saturday morning when my daughter walked into the studio....bed head and all. By the way, I had the light for almost 2 years before I started using it that morning....so you never know.

Heather Smith's cover contest image was a grab image too. :)

Love Holly's crop.

Chontelle

Linda_Gregory
10-13-2010, 01:42 PM
Yes, maybe so but I just see the faults. She was not paying any attention to me, she was wanting to interact with the Mickey Mouse doll in front of her, that's why she was turned away and THAT'S why the awkward crop. I've tried cloning it out but that weave on the chair makes it more difficult than I cared to do. I still don't hve her hand in the frame because I was concentrating on other things, not even considering a usable image (boy have I learned from THAT mistake, ALWAYS be prepared.)

I have another image at work I wish to post and discuss lighting with..No one else have more to share?

Keith_A_Howe
10-13-2010, 02:37 PM
Linda,

Always be prepared is a good concept but sometimes it's not about that but about having a trained eye so you see it in the instant. Holly has an image I've talked about before. It was a vacation snap on a $99 point and shoot camera. She had the camera in a fanny pack, pulled it out, took one frame in a split second and stuck it back in the pack. We got the film processed at a drug store while we were still on vacation. The image went loan and also went to Photokina. It wasn't because she was prepared or planned anything. She just saw something the moment it happened and knew it was right. The subconcious took over. That's why I keep talking about getting to know your camera and lighting so well that you don't have to think about it.

So it sounds like you are not interested in entering this print? Looking for a more sure thing? That's fine but keep this one in mind if you need to fill your case.

I would love to see some more examples here before we move on to the next element. I still am trying to find some time to discuss the rest of Greg's prints.

Keith

GregYager
10-13-2010, 03:15 PM
I posted an edited version of one just in case

ShooterCL
10-14-2010, 04:42 AM
Keith wanted some additional samples, so here are a few from this past Summer.

GregYager
10-14-2010, 04:08 PM
Get in line guys. I was annoying him first.

Ok that's just me being funny.

I will tell you he prefers the images posted directly in the thread. There's a sticky thread that explains the process of doing this which requires you to upload the image elsewhere then come back and embed the link to it here. It's more steps and it makes the image slightly larger. Major pain in the butt at first but once you've done it a few times it's not quite as bad. Still not as easy as using the attachment option here but if doing so makes it easier to critique then it's extra steps worth taking.

I would suggest bifocals but I'm outspoken enough as it is. :D

Keith_A_Howe
10-14-2010, 05:32 PM
http://www.mymorganfield.com/forumimages/shortlightedit01.jpg

What this print (and the other last several examples) has going for it is dimensionality. The makers have all used the light to create a sense of three dimensions on a flat piece of photographic paper. That sense of dimension is one of the things we look for when judging, is there dimension and does it convey what the maker wants us to know about this subject. So for example broad light is not always bad if the maker is trying to convey plumpness or width or broadness in the subject. Because that's not often what we want to say about our subject matter, broad light is not usually a good choice. Next we look at the quality of light, is it soft (gradual transition from highlight to shadow) or hard ( distinct shadow and specular edges) and does that quality of light perpetuate the story of the image. So in this image of Greg's he has dimension which is good. We have a light that is not too soft which is good for a masculine subject. But it's also not too crisp which is fitting with the thoughtful pose and expression. So the lighting is acceptable for this image. Then as a judge I would weigh what is good about the image against what is less successful to see what catergory I would place it in. Greg has said he has a thick skin so I am going risk upsetting him and say what is less successful about this image would outweigh what is good and it would fall somewhere in the above average catergory but short of a merit. So let's hear some comments about what might possibly hold this image out of the merit catergory.

Keith

GregYager
10-14-2010, 06:22 PM
Now that's what I like to hear!

I'll be first by saying the face still seems washed out to me and almost glaring. The t-shirt underneath gave a definite line that is very distracting to me. Should of had him remove it or wear a long sleeve white or gray under it.

The other big detail I seem to have missed was the crumpled vest. I got so tied up trying to make the mixed key thing work I just overlooked it.

Tss1203
10-14-2010, 06:35 PM
I love Greg's use of lighting, and I really like the contemplative expression on the subject. The right hand is distracting, and I'm not loving the crop.

Greg, I always have a hard time noticing the little things as well. I get so caught up excited and hyper when I'm photographing I forget to slow down :)

GregYager
10-14-2010, 07:54 PM
Even though the parents loved this image I have to admit that the bad definitely outweighs the good here. The hand didn't bother me til you pointed it out and now I see it really is just kinda hanging there. If you look close the left hand is lighter than the right as well.

Mark_Levesque
10-14-2010, 08:43 PM
So let's hear some comments about what might possibly hold this image out of the merit catergory.

I am not digging the expression all that much. The vest seems a bit too large for the subject, at least as presented here. It's floppy and doesn't seem to convey his actual form. The kicker camera right is a bit too strong, especially where it creates strong highlights on the collar and left shoulder. His right arm seems a bit uncomfortable, and leaves his right hand competing with his face for attention.

GregYager
10-14-2010, 10:01 PM
Mark,

I'm notorious about those hanging hands. I went back and looked at some of my other shots on him and it seems I do that a lot. The funny thing is when I really concentrate on the shots I don't like the hand either. Definately a habit I need to break. That's why I love a good strong critique so much.

On a side note I watched your webinar on Digital Imaging on Sandy Puc's site last night and it was great! I understood the concept before but now it actually makes sense to me.

Keith_A_Howe
10-15-2010, 07:19 PM
http://www.mymorganfield.com/forumimages/shortlightedit01.jpg

You guys got several of the things but here is what I am seeing. This image is full of contradictions and not in a good way. His outfit is formal, the pose is casual, the expression is angry or intimidating. Contrast can work when it is part of the story but here, unless there was a title to explain, I don't see it adding to the image. Next, the eyes are dead, no life or spark in them, which usually means a catchlight. That's why they read angry or threatening to me. The background is distracting. The shine of the fabric and the curves of the draping give me a feminine feel. And because it's draped it calls attention to all the wrinkles and folds in his clothes. Unfortunately the stripes in the vest REALLY exagerate how messy it is. Last we have the mixed keys. Image this same image if he was in a black sweater same pose & same light. Then bring his eyes up just a little to get a catchlight. Looking up instead of down will make him thoughtful and serene instead of angry. I am not concerned about the hand draping over the knee if everything else in the image reads relaxed, but change the hand on the leg so more of it shows. Right now the hands look dramatically different sizes and I think that's because part of the one hand is hidden by his pant leg. Change out the background to a solid black with no draping. Compose the image so his face falls more at the intersection of thirds and not quite so high up in the right corner. Because he is in all black clothing, the kicker light will no longer creates a hot spot on the white collar. Then title it something that refers to relaxing or listening to music etc. Everything works together then to tell us a story about this young man where right now this image sends confusing messages.

Keith

GregYager
10-15-2010, 07:28 PM
A wealth of advice here!

Everyone has been great and put a lot of thought into the critique so I will do my best to make it worth your time. I'm good friend's with this guy's parents so I'm pretty sure I can get him to come back in and re-shoot this image using the ideas given here. That way we can see first hand how the suggestions will improve the image.

I feel like I have a mission now and that makes me feel awesome.

Angela_Lawson
10-18-2010, 08:45 PM
Hi Greg. I've been gone for about a week and just catching up on the forum. I would note one other small thing. In this photo, his right eye (toward the back) seems smaller than his left eye. This may be fixed with Keith's suggestion to have him looking up more, but sometimes peoples eyes are actually different sizes or open to different points. A quick fix is to liquify his eye a little, IF you've already taken the photos and need to fix them. However, if you notice it before, switch things around, so that he is facing the other direction, and his more open eye is at the back, making the smaller eye in front appear larger. For competition it will probably be recommended that you flip the image afterward, so that you read into the photo, but saves having to do repairs after.

P.S. This was advice given to me from the forum, so I pass it on to you, not to claim as my own, but just to offer assistance. :)