When I went into the studio to shoot Colleen, I was planning on using high key lighting because she’s a happy, energetic person. This proved to be a good choice because I had a much easier time with high key lighting than with low key. I used three lights for my high key shots, each set at 800 watt-seconds. In an effort to overexpose the background, I set up two lights about 2 feet away from a white backdrop to double the amount of light on the background as compared to the light on Colleen. I set up a medium sized softbox on the boom and placed it about 2 feet in front of Colleen. I also set a reflector in front of Colleen a little below chest level to get rid of shadows under her face. An initial incident meter reading gave an exposure of f/22 at 125th and 200 ISO for Colleen’s face. My lens only goes up to f/22, and I wanted some room to change the aperture if necessary, so I dialed down all of the lights by 2 stops. An incident meter reading of Colleen’s face then gave an exposure of f/11 at 125th and 200 ISO. The background was at f/16 at the same settings.
It was a little difficult for me to get Colleen to act naturally in front of the camera. I’ve never done any studio work before, so I didn’t know what to do. After talking for a little while we both relaxed a bit. While Colleen was talking about her sign language class that she likes, I captured the image I’m using as my select. I think it does a good job at capturing her enthusiasm for the things she’s interested in. After reviewing my high key shots, I noticed that there was an area above Colleen’s head that was not quite as overexposed as the rest of the background was. The result is a little bit of gray in the background. In the future, I think I can avoid this by moving the side lights closer or giving them more power.
When trying to do a low key shot, I ran into more difficulties. I tried using a barn door light on the boom set at 400Ws as my single light. My intention was to use a very small amount of light, but it just ended up making Colleen look like a floating head in some of the pictures, which I don’t really like. The incident reading was f/4 at 125th and 200 ISO, but when I took a picture at that setting, Colleen’s face looked blown out to me. To combat this, I stopped my camera down to f/5.6, f/8, and f/10 for various images. Though the images looked better on my camera’s LCD screen, they are actually underexposed when viewed on my computer. I need to trust incident readings more and trust the LCD screen less. If anything, I should have looked at my histogram.