Hello everyone! I am Celeste! I am pleased to be doing a demonstration/tutorial about shadows in the Portraiture classroom. Let me apologize right off for the "model"---it's me! I had to use myself to illustrate some key things that I want to talk about for the first shadow lesson. I am the only available model I have around here and I took all these photos of myself today with my Sony Mavica. None of them have been adjusted color-wise with image software. I am NOT happy with any of them but OH WELL, it is in the interest of our ongoing pursuit of better portraits that I provide them, so I will forgo my vanity for now.
I plan to make my tutorial/demonstration a three part process. I encourage you to let me know what you think as we proceed. Shadows in Flesh is a huge subject so let's not waste any time!
Portrait artists must always determine FIRST the SOURCE of the light onto our subject. It is crucial! Not only must we consider what is the SOURCE of the light is but we must determine the TEMPERATURE of the source light too. One thing that shadow is NOT--it is NOT just a darker version of the local or base color.
Come along with me into some changing light conditions. Remember, our FIRST order of business is always to identify where our light is coming from. Our 2nd important task is to decide whether the source light is WARM or COOL. Let's start here in my studio. Here is the light source, a 60 watt light bulb.
My hair is actually a mousy dark blonde & gray, but here under this light (in the photo above) my hair looks reddish and WARM. Later we will talk about what a warm light does to shadows, but for right now, in lesson #1, let's just concentrate on determining the temperature of various light sources only.
Now lets go into my s.o.'s photography office.
Here the light source is an overhead flourescent light in a white walled office. Look how different my hair looks than the last place I was photographed (my basement studio).
The source of this light is bluer than our first photograph of the basement studio. We can safely state that this light source is COOL.
Now I've gone into the front yard and I am standing beneath a canopy of green leaves. Check the area right beneath my eye in this profile photo--look at the green from the leaves shining onto my face. Reflected light is another factor when it comes to sizing up source light and temperature.
In this leafy situation the light source is sunshine but I am standing in a predominately shaded place. This is dappled light. The sky overhead is blazing blue and "whitening" my skin and hair--but this is WARM (don't be mislead by all the green shade, the light struck areas are warm).
When I step out into the full sunlight I still have green around me but it is at my back and the sun is my light source. What is the temperature?? WARM. Even though my hair is "accurate" color wise--look at the flesh and how red/yellow/orange it is.
Back inside I am in my basement --this time in the laundry room. This is interesting because I am illuminated by our friend the sun but the light is filtered through a grimy window and my surroundings are whitish concrete--SO--the temperature is COOL
Here is a side by side of a warm and a cool light source so you will be able to readily see the difference. Notice how the warm light is yellow/red/orange and the cool light is bluish.
Well, do you think you understand cool and warm temperature? I will give you two more photos and you can try to determine if they are cool or warm. Once you feel confident about assessing light source and temperature we will go on to talk about what that means for the SHADOWS in those conditions.
...cool or warm??
cool or warm?
I'll give you a clue about what is coming up next-----creating convincing shadows using complementary color! See you tomorrow!