Throwing some light on Studio Shots – level 1 photography

NCFE  LEVEL 1 PHOTOGRAPHY  – Assignment 2 Unit 5


This week was our last. We learned a little about studio photography and lighting.     There are several types of shades and filters used in studio work:

  • Beauty Dish: Beauty dishes are usually used for ‘beauty’ shots (unsurprisingly). These type of shots are usually head and shoulder portraits that highlight makeup and hair, and are commonly used in the fashion industry.
  • (Image found on Google) Beauty-Dish
  • Barn Doors: Shape and direct light. They are flexible to use and can create softened, focused light.  Barn doors are fixed onto the front of studio lights.(Image found on Google) Barn-Door-Lighting-Studio-Gel-Filter-Holder
  • Umbrella: A photography umbrella is used to remove shadows, and to soften and diffuse the light.(image found on Google) Studio umbrella
  • Soft Box: A soft box reduces harsh shadows. Leaving beautiful diffused light.  The closer a soft box is to the subject, the softer the light seems, making it appear like natural light from a window.(Image found on Google) Studio strobe with softbox

For portraits, we set our camera to M (manual) setting. Our shutter speed was set at 1/100sec, and the ISO set to it’s lowest setting, because you want the best quality image. The only thing you need to alter is the Aperture (which we all know by now, I hope, is the same thing as f;stop). Portrait photography needs a shallow depth of field eg 5.6-8.  In theory, you can use any flash on any camera, but for this exercise we are using studio lighting.

After setting up the lighting and a black background, we had a little practice at studio photography, with some of us more willing ‘models’ than others! We  were reminded to take a test shot to check for lighting.  Here are my fellow students and posers. 😉

There are 4 different themes for lighting in Studio photography.  Once you know, you will be able to spot them in any beauty shot in magazines and publicity photo’s.

  • Butterfly effect. Named for the’ butterfly’ shaped shadow that is created under the nose by placing the main light source above and directly behind the camera. It’s most often used for glamour style shots, and to create shadows under the cheeks and chin. It’s more flattering for ‘older’ subjects as it emphasizes wrinkles less than side lighting. It puts a slight shadow on the nose and defines the cheekbones.
  • Loop Shot: Probably the most common or popular lighting pattern, as it’s easy to create and flatters most people.
  • Split Light:  Dramatic lighting. It only illuminates one side of the face. It’s usually more appropriate for men than women as the lighting is quite harsh.
  • Rembrandt: One side of the face will be clear, the other in shadow. Puts a ‘diamond shape’ under the eye. It is not used so much, but is best for actors who wish to portray gravity, tragedy, and or drama.

Can you see the differences?

I would never have thought I would enjoy studio photography, but I really did. We had fun and lots of laughter and I think, some really great results.

So, there you are. 12 wonderful weeks. All summed up. 🙂 I am so sad to tell you, however, that our amazing tutor, Zig will be leaving us, but he is going on to better things…. and we are welcoming a new tutor, Ria for level 2 photography starting next week.

I really hope you’ll join me for the next 5 months of my journey..

Happy New Year… (lots more photo’s to come, of course.)