Photography - Lighting in portrait photography

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<p>Photograph yLighting in portrait photographyGuillem Costas Castilla 2011</p> <p>INDEXIntroduction.............................................................................3 Objectives................................................................................4 Introduction.............................................................................5 Basic terminology.....................................................................6 RAW vs. JPG..............................................................................8 RAW...................................................................................................8 JPG......................................................................................................8 Image compression............................................................................8 The differences..................................................................................9 The choice..........................................................................................11 Lighting outside 12</p> <p>Lighting outside using ambient light..................................................12 Examples...................................................................................13 Lighting outside using artificial light and ambient light.....................16 Examples...................................................................................18 Lighting inside..........................................................................25 Examples...................................................................................27 Astrophotography.....................................................................41 Examples.....................................................................42 Variable light conditions...........................................................44 Examples...................................................................................45 Process of postprocessing.........................................................55 Example.....................................................................................55 Conclusion................................................................................63</p> <p>2</p> <p>Bibliography.............................................................................65 Annex......................................................................................67</p> <p>3</p> <p>INTRODUCTIONI started thinking about the subject of my project in the 4th year of ESO. I had one thing very clear: it would have to be about something I liked and I could enjoy doing. Photography was the subject that was always in my mind, but there were other subjects such as Light which would have been a physics project. The first year of Batxillerat arrived and I had to decide what I wanted to do. I was in doubt about choosing between three different projects, all of which were related to photography in some way. The first one was about light. I wanted to do some research in the area of light diffraction but it wasnt appealing enough for me to feel I absolutely wanted to work on this subject so I abandoned this idea. The second idea was to do a time lapse. Time-lapse photography is a cinematographic technique where each frame is captured at a rate much slower than it will be played back. When it is played at a normal speed, time appears to be moving faster than in reality. The idea I had was to show a day in my life in 15 minutes. I finally rejected this option because something better came to me, and anyway this project would not have had a theoretical part. The third idea, and the one Ive chosen, was lighting in photography, especially in portrait photography. I had bought some lighting equipment and I didnt know how to use it correctly so I thought a great way of learning how to use it would be to do my project about it. My life-long passion mixed up with my research project could be a very good mixture. When I finally decided on this subject, lots of ideas came to my mind and I put them together and I did an index which I gave to my tutor. Luckily, he agreed with the project and I started working on it.</p> <p>4</p> <p>OBJECTIVESI knew almost nothing about the subject so my main objective was to learn as much as I could about lighting in portrait photography. My project would consist of a theoretical part and a practical part. What I wanted to do was to tell in my own words everything I was learning and show it with my own pictures. It would be very instructive. First, I divided the project into three parts, where every part would have a theory and practice section. The first part would be the introduction, where I would introduce the subject and learn more about the two main kinds of file: JPG and RAW. The second part would be about outside lighting out, where I had to fulfil two objectives: to learn how to shoot outside and get good light results, and to learn how to mix ambient light with artificial light, which is harder. The third part would consist of lighting inside. I knew nothing about that, so I would have to do a lot of research to be able give the best ways to provide illumination in a studio, and to try them. This looked good, and it could have been the project, but my teacher said that I could do some research about astrophotography, which has some specific lighting characteristics. Moreover, he could provide me with everything I needed to do the practical part. It sounded fantastic, so I added this part. I wanted to take some successful shots of galaxies and stars and explain the basis of astrophotography. Furthermore, while I was doing my project a new part came to my mind. This would be about lighting in special conditions such as concerts, correfocs or dance exhibitions. This part would be more practical than theoretical, but I thought this was missing in the project, so I decided to add this as well. Summing up, I had five objectives. The first was to do some research about JPG and RAW files. The second was to be able to tell with my own words how to illuminate outside correctly using ambient light or mixing ambient light with artificial light and test it with pictures taken by me. The third was the same as the second but lighting inside, I would just use artificial light. The</p> <p>5</p> <p>fourth was to explain the basis of astrophotography and take some successful photographies of celestial bodies. And the last one was to show some examples of photography in variable light conditions.</p> <p>6</p> <p>INTRODUCTION TO DSLRFirst of all, I have to say that Im just going to talk about a Digital SingleLens Reflex camera (DSLR). A DSLR is a digital camera that uses a mechanical mirror and a pentaprism to direct light from the lens to an optical viewfinder on the back of the camera. Some aspects of what Im going to talk about may not be applicable in compact or medium format cameras. DSLRs are often preferred by photographers because they allow the user to choose from a huge variety of interchangeable lenses. Lenses are divided according to their focal range. There are fisheyes, wide angle, standard lenses, telephoto lenses, macro Furthermore, there are also lenses of a fixed focal, fixed aperture, but I will deal with this point later. Moreover, most DSLRs also have a function that allows accurate preview of depth of field. You will never understand photography if you are not clear about two points - how the light travels through the camera and arrives at the viewfinder, and the way the sensor catches the light.</p> <p>Illustrations of the path of light inside the camera We have to consider the camera in two parts: the lens and the body. Basically, the lens is formed by several pieces of glass. Its function is to focus the image onto the digital sensor, where it is captured and stored. The</p> <p>7</p> <p>body contains the components which are responsible for visualizing and creating the image. Some of these components are the mirror, the digital sensor, the pentaprism and the viewfinder.</p> <p>8</p> <p>BASIC TERMINOLOGYIn this part Im going to explain some specific photographic vocabulary that appears in the project. Lens: a camera lens works by focusing the light onto the digital sensor. It contains several pieces of glass and other elements. It is the optical component of a camera and it performs automatic and manual functions. Aperture: it controls the amount of light admitted into the lens.</p> <p>Sometimes it is fixed but usually you can adjust the size of the hole to vary the amount of light. F-stops: the F-number of F-stops are the numbers on the lens aperture ring and the cameras LCD. These numbers indicate the size of lens aperture. The lower the number the larger is the aperture, meaning that the lower value lets more light pass into the camera. Focal length: it is the distance between the sensor and the lens centre when the camera is focused on an object at infinity. This distance is measured in millimetres, for example: 70-200mm. There are lenses with a fixed focal length but most lenses can vary the focal length and they are called zoom lenses. Shutter speed: this is the speed of opening and closing of the camera shutter. It determinates the amount of time that light can pass through the aperture. Shorter shutter speeds are needed for taking shots in bright conditions while longs speeds are used for taking shots in dark areas. Depth of field (DOF): it is the distance from the focal point at which a photo will be sharp while the rest becomes blurry. The lower F-stop number the shorter your DOF will be and also the other way around. This means that when shooting with a low F-stop you will get an image with a very short distance of sharpness.</p> <p>9</p> <p>Autofocus (AF): it refers to the ability of some cameras or lenses to get the correct focus automatically. In some models the focus can be continuously maintained. Resolution: The resolution is the amount of pixels that the image has. Normally its specified in Megapixels. Pixels are the colour dots that make up an image. A camera with higher resolution will produce better image quality. White Balance (WB): white balance adjust the white colour quantity of your image. This process is used to make white the objects you see as white in person. White balance is measured in degrees Kelvin and usually goes from 1.000K (candlelight) to 10.000K (heavily overcast sky). The sensor: it is the component that replaces the film. It is made of millions of pixels that read the light and colour values which are later reconstructed to create the image. In camera software: the process to create the image from the data of the sensor is performed by this software. It is usually very sophisticated and normally allows the user to edit the photograph in the camera. Memory cards: when the image is reconstructed by the software in the camera its stored in the memory card. There are several types of memory cards: SD, Compact Flash, Memory Stick, and xD memory. Strobist (strobe): lighting equipment made up of off-camera flashes. ISO: it is the quantity of light a camera needs to take a photo. Depending on the ISO number you choose it will vary. The higher the number is, the less light you need to take the picture.</p> <p>10</p> <p>RAW vs. JPGRaw and JPG are two different kinds of files your camera can produce. For example, when you use Microsoft Word and you save the document it creates a .DOC file, and when you use Microsoft Excel it creates a .XLS file. So, what are the differences between these kinds of files?</p> <p>RAW The definition of raw is uncooked. A RAW file is the unedited image data that a digital SLR camera captures every time you take a photo, so you could say that a RAW file is an uncooked digital photo. The camera doesnt manipulate the image in any way before its saved on the memory card. You can make an equivalence with analog cameras; a RAW file is the same as a digital negative. JPG Unlike a RAW file, a JPG is a processed image. All of the processing takes place inside the camera before the image is saved in the memory card. Some of this processing consists of colour saturation (increase or decrease the intensity of colours), sharpness (can make the image looks crisp or soft) and contrast (affects the range between the highlights and shadows). This seems good if you dont want or dont have time to spend on the computer processing the image but it has a drawback: the treatment that the SLR applies to the image cant be undone. This doesnt mean that you cant make changes to your photo in an editing program after you take it of course you can. It just means that any colour or exposure setting applied when the photo was taken cant be altered. IMAGE COMPRESSION A digital image is made up of millions of pixels and the camera has two options when it comes to the colour of these pixels:</p> <p>11</p> <p>1. Leave them the way they were captured by the cameras sensor. 2. Adjust ones of a similar colour so that they are identical (this reduces the overall file size of your digital photo). The effect of mild-severe compression can drastically reduce the overall quality of the image, producing photos that look unsharp and blocky. This process is applied to every JPG file to some extent (you can control the extent using camera settings). In contrast, no compression is used for RAW files. THE DIFFERENCES Now Im going to talk about the pros and cons of each kind of file and what you must know before choosing one or the other. Pros of JPG 1. Small file size maximizes memory card space. 2. Easy to view and edit with any editing program. 3. Easy to upload to online galleries. 4. Cons of JPG 1. Less control over the way the final image appears. 2. Compressed files lose some image data. 3. Its harder of to correct or mistakes exposure. JPG is by far the easier format to work with because you can see the image on any computer. Even if you dont have an image editing program you can still view your JPG images with just the standard utilities of your computer. Since every JPG is compressed, it doesnt take up as much space. This also means that it takes significantly less time to upload a JPG to an online gallery. When you set your camera to capture photos as JPG files, you are letting the camera decide how your final images are going to look. Decisions about the colour, tone and clarity of the photo are under your direct control - that's all decided for you. But if you take a portrait and decide after the fact that you don't like the skin tones or capture a beautiful sunset but the colours don't colour</p> <p>12</p> <p>pop quite as much as you'd like, there's little that you can do about it. The image is (somewhat) set in stone.</p> <p>13</p> <p>Pros of RAW 1. No image data is lost. 2. You have plenty of flexibility when deciding what the final image will look like. 3. Allows you to correct mistakes made at the time of the exposure. Cons of RAW 1. Uncompressed images create very large files. 2. Requires special programs to convert into JPG format. 3. Requires po...</p>