How I Learn

May 2nd, 2020

How do I learn how to take photos? Well, I usually start with some tutorials on YouTube. Search for some reading on the material I'm researching so I can visually see diagrams about how they set up lights and subjects. I'm a very visual person, so I learn by seeing. I'm also a kinetic learner, so I learn by doing.  Below is a diagram of how to set up a Rembrandt lighting set up. If you know anything of his paintings, you'll know he had a particular style of lighting how he painted. The thought is that he had a skylight high above where his subjects stood and it created a small triangle on the subject's cheek. It became an iconic lighting technique. Later on, I'll show you what this looks like.

After seeing and reading about what I'm planning on doing. Usually, I'll set up in my basement. I'll put up some lights, I'll bring out almost ALL my gear. I try the setup that I read about and saw, and then I start to get creative. I move things around, I add flags and scrims and lights and different poses and angles. This is where I'm most creative. Not in post. I usually keep things pretty light in post production. But I'm creative in the moment. I start in one spot. Usually a spot I'm comfortable with, and then my creativity usually takes over. I start getting really excited about it. I really do.


One of my favourite lighting styles is low key lighting. Usually something that is lit from the back providing a kind of rim light around one side of the subject. I was working with some low key lighting today and ended up with "almost" Rembrandt lighting. I say almost because my head was tilted slightly forward so the triangle ended up being slightly too high. The light was also around the back of me, but with me being turned it made the triangle below my eye. If I had turned slightly away from the camera more, angled my head up a bit and had the light just slightly higher, this would have been great Rembrandt lighting. Rembrandt lighting is a historically classical style of lighting. A lot of people feel it suits men more than women with the dramatic, contrast-y style of it. Women can definitely easily pull this style off though as well.

However, I wasn't going for Rembrandt lighting. It just turned out that way. Happy accident as Bob Ross would say. I was going for some low-key lighting. Which went SUPER well with the black and white I had in mind here. I absolutely love how this picture turned out. I can't wait to make similar pictures with some more people. I love working like this and I'm definitely excited to have started this journey.


Signing off for now,

Brad


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