First eBook In Lighting Series

Got a question about how I did that glow thing on the above image. It was one of the random selections I used when playing w/ VSCO film03 for the first time. Interesting question and I will answer in a minute. I made that image during a session specifically designed to illustrate one of my upcoming lighting series eBooks so I may as well let the cat out of the bag.

I am far enough along to at least announce the first in a new eBook series. Expect it within the next week or so. I do need to make a few more diagrams and a couple of additional photos that I didn't know I needed to make until I got to the point I am now at writing it. I have about 8 different ones organized and outlined. The first one that I decided to actually complete and release took a bit to sort out. I went back and forth a few times. Reorganized the whole lot of um. Edited, made images, change my mind a few additional times and landed on what may be a curious decision. The very first eBook in the series will be about using windows.

After a lot of though I decided that this is probably the most universal regardless of any particular photographers bent, style, preferences, subject matter etc. It's also not too hard to be successful using windows with sky light coming through them. It's also - in the way I treat the subject - the foundation for going in just about any other lighting direction. So that is the first one. Specifically Window light - soft sky.

So why does it take me months to do something like this - even if it's not some multi-volume tome that tries to cover every single thing imaginable? Well, due to my completely non-linear way of thinking everything is connected to everything and it takes me a bit to sort out what to leave in, what to connect to what, what asides and concepts need to be covered, where to cover them, etc, etc. For me this is tough because I want these narrow but deep guides to be usable, fun, and idea generating for anyone - not just neophytes but old hands as well.

I can't just skip to the end and I can't cover every single piece of background material. I also want to connect concepts so that people will really "get it" when I start covering other lighting topics. I want to make them so damn good that although small most people - even more advanced photographers will get something new out of it if they look at it a second time or a third time. Lofty goals yes. Let's hope I achieve half that considering I want them to go deep on a single topic and stand-alone but provide enough material that the relationships between everything in the series will be quite clear.

Okay - on to that glowy-ness thing. Funny question because that's actually something I talked about in the first eBook. I didn't do anything to make that happen in post. It's the light and how I used it here. in a lower key manner. Note that the window is only directly hitting the far side of the subjects face, torso, and arms. What it's not hitting is the back of the sofa. I chose the sofa specifically for that reason in this particular room. That reason is so the subject's highlighted face would stand out against a darker background and the whole thing would have a dark/light/dark pattern from top to bottom.

Now here's where the glow thing happens. That relatively intense window light hits the subject's blouse which is very light colored and being so close to the un-lit background acts as a reflector bouncing light back on to it. That is the glow. Looks nice and it's easy to do no post processing required. It just so happens that the area of the sofa lightened by the reflection happens to coincide with the position of the subjects far arm and quite nicely.

Oh. One other reason it takes so long. I am actually going out and shooting images for these things for the sole purpose of the eBooks. Not before the fact but after I do the outlines. Then I write a draft and figure out what I am missing and go shoot again. I decided to do this for two reasons. I hate looking at images contrived on the spot and put together in two seconds solely for the purpose of explaining something - I am sure you have seen them. Like someone explaining loop lighting and using a sloppy plain seamless with no fill and a white plastic head and the whole effect just looks bad. For newbies and old hands alike I think that doesn't show one of the most important things of all - CONTEXT and real world usage to good effect.

The other reason is that I wanted to make sure what I was talking about was reasonably doable and repeatable on demand in just about any environment. If I just went through my favorite images and described what I though I might have done and the environment, etc from memory that's sort of like cheating. Things get left out, I romanticize things that I can't really make happen over and over again or that are extremely environment specific, etc, etc. I want to put my money where my mouth is. It's only fair. As usual I am trying to make things I myself would want…

I am super excited about these. I hope you will be to.


Ps. Same PP as the original VSCO post - Polaroid 669 sharpness down, clarity down, export done.

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