A lot of people forget that photography is not about being edgy, or finding the right angle, or even about looking for the best looking models. Photography can be simply described as a play on light. In fact, if you are planning to become a serious photographer, finding a way to make the light work for you is one of the most important things you need to master. If you cannot understand light behaviour, then you risk being stuck as an “Instagram photographer.”
This is an especially important skill if you are working in a studio where artificial light is mostly used. You will not know how to mirror natural lighting, and therefore will not be able to take control of a photoshoot session well. Just look at the highend beauty collection that you see in salon or fashion galleries, they turned out looking magazine ready (for stock photos, that is quite a feat) because of the combined efforts of photo editing tools and a good grasp of lighting.
Which is why for this article, we will talk about how you can use contrast if light to make sure your models look out of this world.
*H/T: This article is based on a video by Julia Kuzmenko McKim
The Inverse-Square Law for Light
According to the video by Julia Kuzmenko McKim, there are two things you need to consider when to trying to make contrast of light work for you. The first one is the Inverse-Square Law for Light. Sounds like a Maths problem, right? Well, that’s because it involves a little bit of proper measurement on your side.
Basically, the definition is that the amount of light that your subject will receive is inversely proportional to the square distance from that light source. So for instance, if the distance from my light source and my subject is doubled, the area will get only one-fourth amount of light. Then all you need to do is adjust the strobe power to get the right exposure.
If that still makes your scratch imagine you want to shoot a group photo, which means you’ll be using a larger area. To make sure you’ll illuminate the are properly, you will have to move the light further from the area. However, you’ll notice that the area then receives lesser light. Which means, you’ll have to adjust the strobe power to achieve the exposure that you want.
Contrast of light
The next factor, which is the primary subject of her video, is the contrast of light. Now that you know how you can move the light around the given area and that you can choose to adjust the strobe power to get the appropriate exposure, you need to use that to show your model’s beautiful skin.
As you know, your model’s natural look plus the perfect blend of make-up adds to the art of your photography. By using harder light, you can get crispier highlights since skin is a reflective surface. So at the start of your photoshoot, try to collaborate with your make-up artist. Discuss what the model’s final look will be like, and test them out using frontal lighting. Afterwards, it’s only about the distance between your model and the light source.