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  • Writer's pictureMichael Spatola

Seeing Light, Creating Mood (part 2: Artificial Light)

Studio lighting effect using just hotel room reading lights on either side of the bed.

In Part 1, we discussed using natural light, and how to manipulate it to produce beautiful results. Now, in part 2 we'll talk about using artificial light to produce light that the eye and mind accept as available light situations. Available light, means light that is already there in the set or location.

First, let's talk about the image above. This was shot in a hotel room, at night, with only the nightstand reading lights. Because they were on positionable goosenecks, I was able to create a dramatic studio lighting effect without any equipment at all.

Now let's talk about the images that follow. All were created with some form of artificial lighting that is just outside the camera's frame.

Like the previously, all images in this post are black and white so you can see the light and shadow.

These first images are bedroom images that seem to be lit with available room lighting. But the truth is, that the real lighting came from strobes just outside of the frame. I used the direction of the room lights as an example to where to place the strobes.

A strobe is placed camera right near the nightstand. This simulates light coming from the nightstand light.

The actual light for this scene is actually placed just above the nightstand light, simulating it's coming from the lamp.

Another simulated nightstand lamp lighting pattern. Nope, it's a strobe.

Again, trying to simulate available nightstand lamps, using strobes.

The real room lights: mirror, overhead (in frame) and window camera left. My light placement are to simulate those.

This next set of images were taken outdoors, or on location. Again, artificial lights or strobes were used to simulate light coming from the sources in, and just out of, frame to achieve a look like it just lit in existing light.

Shot in our business center. Sunlight created with 7' wide umbrella, placed where sunlight normally enters the room.

You can see the real sunlight coming from the top right of frame. But the light hitting her is a strobe in a huge umbrella.

Simulated afternoon sunlight. Taken at night, in the dark! A strobe in a softbox was placed outside the window.

On my balcony at night. The light looks like it's from top left porch light. It's actually a strobe through the window.

You can see the lights overhead. But the one on her is simulated with an artificial light coming from a high angle.

The above examples clearly show that once you have the ability to see the light, and the ability to simulate it that light, you can create images that most people will accept as the real thing.

Depending on how well, these first 2 are received, I may do a "part 3" on dramatic studio lighting too!

Is it time for you to have a session created? Drop me an email with your number and good time to call, and we'll set it up!

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