When light is striking an object from one side, the other side falls into shadow.
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With objects that have many surfaces at different angles, like flower petals, many areas of shadow may form. These are usually unflattering to the image. A reflector can bounce light into the scene to fill in those shadows. Without a reflector. With a reflector. In this case, the reflector has picked out a ridge in the petal that is virtually invisible in the image on the left. That ridge adds interest to the flower, and really "makes" the image. The reflector should be placed on the opposite side of the subject to the light source.
The idea is to catch the rays of light from the light source and bounce them back onto the object. Exactly where you position it, and at what angle, can have a huge impact on the result. The only way to know the right place is to experiment. Technique 1: You can get a rough idea of where to place the reflector by looking directly at your subject while moving the reflector around. For exact placement, however, you need to look through the viewfinder while moving the reflector. The changes are too subtle, and the area affected is too small, for you to be able to appreciate the differences without looking at them through the viewfinder.
A black background is used to help you to see the differences in the following images. The changes are quite significant, and are solely the result of slight angle changes to the reflector. Reflector position 1.
Reflector position 2. Reflector position 3. The colour of the reflector will affect the colour of the light on your subject. A white or silver reflector will reflect the light that hits it as-is, while a gold reflector renders a slightly warmer cast. Silver reflects more light than white, and will therefore produce a highlight with more contrast. White reflector. Silver reflector. Gold reflector. The effects of the white reflector are subtle, but noticeable along the left edge.
The light is more even with the white reflector. The silver and gold reflectors provide stronger highlights. The gold one produces a warmer colour. Reflectors can have a shiny or a matte surface. If you want to mimic bright sunlight falling on your object, use a very shiny silver or gold reflector gold will look more like late afternoon light. If you prefer more even, soft, or diffused light, then a matte surface is better. A matte surface actually has a rougher texture than a shiny one, and therefore scatters light more unevenly toward your subject, resulting in a more diffuse reflection.
You can buy collapsible reflectors at your local camera store.
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There are 5-in-1 kits that cover all possibilities: white, silver, gold, a silver-gold mix, and translucent a diffuser. The advantage of buying a reflector is that they are collapsible, making them easily portable for location shooting. You can easily make your own reflector very inexpensively. The good news is that a home-made reflector is just as effective as one you buy in the store! It is most often used for glamour style shots and to create shadows under the cheeks and chin.
It is also flattering for older subjects as it emphasizes wrinkles less than side lighting. Butterfly lighting is created by having the light source directly behind the camera and slightly above eye or head level of the subject depends on the person. It is sometimes supplemented by placing a reflector directly under their chin, with the subject themselves even holding it!
This pattern flatters subjects with defined or prominent cheek bones and a slim face.
Someone with a round, wide face would look better with loop or even split to slim their face. This pattern is tougher to create using windowlight or a reflector alone. Often a harder light source like the sun or a flash is needed to produce the more defined shadow under the nose. Broad lighting is not so much a particular pattern, but a style of lighting. Any of the following patterns of light can be either broad or short: loop, Rembrandt, split. This produces a larger area of light on the face, and a shadow side which appears smaller. Most people however want to look slimmer, not wider so this type of lighting would not be appropriate for someone who is heavier or round faced.
To create broad lighting the face is turned away from the light source. Notice how the side of the face that is towards the camera has the most light on it and the shadows are falling on the far side of the face, furthest from the camera. Simply put broad lighting illuminates the largest part of the face showing.
Short lighting is the opposite of broad lighting. As you can see by the example here, short lighting puts the side turned towards the camera that which appears larger in more shadow. It is often used for low key, or darker portraits.
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It puts more of the face in shadow, is more sculpting, add 3D qualities, and is slimming and flattering for most people. In short lighting, the face is turned towards the light source this time. Notice how the part of the face that is turned away from the camera has the most light on it and the shadows are falling on the near side of the face, closet to the camera.
Simply put short lighting has shadows on the largest part of the face showing. Once you learn how to recognize and create each of the different lighting patterns you can then start to learn how and when to apply them. Someone with a very round face that wants to appear slimmer in a grad portrait, will be lit very differently than someone that wants a promo shot for their band that makes them appear mean or angry. Of course it is much easier to change the lighting pattern if you can move the light source.
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Chris C Chris C 1, 12 12 silver badges 17 17 bronze badges. Vigrond I tried that, it doesn't make the shadow blur drop off of the sides far enough. You need to add two corner shadows to make the sides more even. I don't think this is the right answer, this seems to stack three separate box-shadows on top of each other, making each edge much darker than expected. Isn't there a way to add a single shadow to each side, or one shadow that will cover all three?
If you are looking for something like Google material design shadows:. Maciej Krawczyk Maciej Krawczyk 5, 4 4 gold badges 15 15 silver badges 32 32 bronze badges. Here's an example of the negative Y value suggested by Vigrond box-shadow: 0px -8px 10px 0px rgba 0,0,0,0. It seems like a hack to stack the card on the other to cover up the shadow. Could cause breakage on other break points. For translucent shadows with hard corners i. However, this does require the background of the element to be solid.
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