Last week’s meeting: Brian Worley with fashion model Emma – Portrait lighting and photography

Brian began his presentation explaining how different light – harsh, soft, near, further away – affects the final photograph and how it can be easy and less easy to be controlled. He explained the ‘inverse square law’ which basically says that the further away the light is from the subject, or background, the light drops off at a higher rate. For example, if the background is twice as far away from the subject it receives only one-quarter the light.


He set up lights to photograph Emma and showed results of each shot projected onto the screen. The set up changed from small lights, which had to be close and threw shadows from her nose onto her check, to larger and further away which was softer and less directional.


Direction of the light was critical to get the look he wanted. Straight on made the face flat, to the side added depth, having the light higher than eye level was preferable, and getting catch lights in the eyes brought out a sense that Emma was alive.


Added a reflector to the opposite side of the subject helps lift the shadows. If you don’t have a reflector use a wall, but be aware that the colour of the wall will affect the colour of the ‘bounced’ light.


Bigger lights are more forgiving but you need to be careful with them as you have less control due to the wider spread of light they throw.


Seeing all this is action is better than written and if you want to know more check out Peter Hurley and his 5 tips here also J P Morgan here and Sean Tucker here.


For the second half Brian constructed a continuous lighting set up and we were all given a chance to take photos of Emma who was a very experienced model and expertly posed for us.


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Oxford Photographic Society