an orderly, thought-out process involving several steps
that should be taken in chronological order:
What part of the subject should be featured or be the
should the fill lights be located? From what distance
should the light come?
flood, or spot? What accessories are needed-reflectors,
there enough shadow detail? Is more or less fill light
the right places? Are the highlights too bright? Do each
of the lights add to the overall quality of the lighting, or
can some of them be eliminated? Will the subject record
on the film as previsualized?
the correct exposure for the overall set? Will the film
record the contrast range between important highlights
Are important details obstructed?
subject to be photographed. When, for example, the
product is tented, the procedure should be to establish
an overall, high level of illumination first. Other lights
should then be added to better show shape, form, and
bulk of the subject.
establish this light, you should do the following:
move the main light in the general area previsualized for
the main light. Establish the main light in a position
where it produces the most pleasing and desired effect.
Remember, the farther the main light is from the subject,
the smaller the highlights and the sharper the edges of
the shadows. As the light is moved, notice the change in
highlight and shadow areas. It is important for you to
observe the effect of the lighting (through the ground
glass) exactly as the camera will see it. The
characteristics of the main light greatly influence the
overall quality of the picture.
produced by the main light may be needed to help
separate and define subject planes as well as to separate
the subject from the background or its surroundings. By
using secondary spotlights in a crosslighting or
skimming manner, you can emphasize the surface
texture of the subject.
than positioning either the main or the fill lights. When
the subject is a complex shape or has many planes,
several small, secondary lights may be needed.
to provide the appropriate shadow detail. The fill light
illumination is usually supplied by one or more diffused
floodlights or reflectors. Care must be taken to ensure
that the fill-in lighting does not cast distinguishable
shadows. This problem can generally be solved by
positioning the fill lights close to the camera and at a
low angle or about tabletop height.
photograph. A dominant light source must prevail
without undue competition from other light sources.
If the addition of a new light creates new problems,
then start over again. Remember, the simplest
approaches to product lighting are the best.
Basic Photography Course