“Chiseled” light, for Shodo


I haven’t done a “How I Lit It” post in ages, so, I figured, hey, why not today? The man you see here is Shodo, and Shodo has really good, masculine, bone structure, and I wanted to highlight that. I wanted to light Shodo so that his face appeared very chiseled. Now, in my experience, for chiseled lighting, my gut would tell me to go for something hard, as far as quality of light. So, I had a few options, Omni, Magnum, Narrow Beam, or a standard/zoom(Profoto)reflector. Funny thing is, I used none of those aforementioned reflectors. I ended up opting for a Paul C Buff white beauty dish with a grid. When most people(photographers)think beauty dish, they think of beauty images, usually involving women. I don’t know too many photographers personally, that use beauty dishes for men, a few, but not the majority. Now, things change a bit, when you slap a 30 degree grid on a beauty dish. The grid constricts the amount of light exiting the dish, thus, making it a smaller light source(hard light), as well as increasing contrast. I felt that it was just what I needed for this portrait of Shodo. I also used a white Paul C Buff, 64 inch soft white PLM, for a very weak fill light. I wanted just a tiny bit of fill to brighten up the shadows, and give a little detail to Shodo’s face. If I had used too much fill, it would have taken away from the contrast I was trying to achieve for the chiseled look. The beauty dish was to camera right, at a 45 degree-ish angle. The fill light, was behind me, a bit above my head, and angled down a bit, towards Shodo’s face. I used a Paul C Buff Einstein for the key light, and used an Alien Bees B800 for the fill light. Shot with my old, trusty, Nikon D700, with my Nikon 105mm f2.8 macro lens. Remember, if there are any questions, feel free to post them in the comments. Also, if you would like me to do a “How I Lit It” on any other image I have created, feel free to request it in the comments as well.

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 3.34.37 PM


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