Lighting for Black and White

Thinking About lighting.

Composition, composition and more composition is the mantra that as an aspiring photographer we say to ourselves, we contemplate the rules of thirds, looking for powerful lead lines and the many other rules and laws that we must abide to.

However there is one other thing we should really try to concentrate on and that is probably the most important part of photography, Light, we need to learn to control the light at all times. It can make or break a photograph. Take the PhotoFriday word this week, leaves, simple enough but taking a photo of leaves can be quite difficult. I wanted to get texture and a feeling of 3D in a simple photograph.

This is where controlling the light comes in. A simple top light and you get no details. Too harsh and it’s all shadows, you need to set up the lighting and get it right it saves loads of time in post!

A top light is OK but is not really revealing all the texture

My set up is a simple one, a light tent and a single diffused spot from the rear right of the leaves. The diffused spot light gives us enough shadows to bring out the texture of the leaf and highlight the structure of the  leaf. By controlling the light I could then in post extract the details I wanted and blow the highlights as and where I wanted to give the high dynamic range.

A light from the side has added some shadow and texture to the leaf.

After the post I got the image I was really after by boosting contrast and structure and applying a small amount of unsharp mask it came out alright.


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