Sunday, June 21, 2009

Amber McNeil: Anne Hathaway Lighting

Rarely do I do something completely in Lightroom (Lr2). However since the program is so robust I occasionally get the itch to bypass Photoshop completely and just retouch in Lr.

And it's all really simple stuff because Lr is so straightforward. Some clarity here, grayscale, individual color adjustments, color temperature with a slight tint added to bring out the colors, contrast/brightness, exposure adjustment, it's all there.

The focus for this picture was the softness and the rose in her mouth. So I brought out the colors of the rose as much as possible without destroying the grayscale skin tones. The hair and dress were of little to no concern to me.

Strobist info: I call this my "Anne Hathaway lighting" because the first time I saw this kind of light was from a picture of Anne Hathaway (see below). Since then I've enjoyed doing several different shoots with this lighting because it always delivers pleasant results. It's essentially one gigantic softbox. If you can't tell, it's a bedsheet strung up (clipped) on my background stands. Then a single AB800 blasts the sheet (white) with light. I think I only used 1/2 to 3/4 power on the AB800 which was about 6-7 feet away from the sheet. Things to note are to keep the model well within the sheet in order to get the major "wrap-around" effect of the huge light source.

Camera info: D3, 1/200th, f/4.5, ISO200, 70mm (Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G). Triggered with Gadget Infinity V4.

What I failed to mention in my flickr post regarding this picture is that this infatuation with the "Anne Hathaway lighting" was a result of multiple (failed) attempts at recreating the picture. The first time I saw this picture I was awestruck by the beauty and simplicity and most importantly the lighting. This was during my foray into strobist lighting when I was learning the ropes and reading up on the 101 and 102 lessons from David Hobby.

I first saw this picture as a composite of multiple highlights and did not piece together the fact that it was essentially one light source. I saw the burned highlights on the forehead, nose, cheeks, neck (particularly under the chin!), shoulders/back, and front of the forearms. With multiple lights I attempted to recreate this look but missing the mark with some missing highlights. Over time I tried and retried the look and would get closer with each try. In the back of my mind I always suspected that this picture was in fact one single large light source but it never occurred to me to test this theory because at the time I didn't think to use a bedsheet and shoot light through it. I only thought about the fact that my largest light source was an Apollo Westcott 50" softbox (which is actually pretty big). So it wasn't until much later that I finally got around to making more attempts.

Here's my first attempt at recreating this shot:

Ultimately I think the take-away point of all of this is not the fact that I finally figured it out but that I dared to ask the right questions. I will leave this here and pick up tomorrow with this as the subject.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Charles... just found your blog yesterday. Great job and great photos. This post inspired me to go home and try it... this was quickly processed in Lightroom