Hard light is almost always difficult to work with, but also quite worth it :) Natural light (direct sunlight during the day) is challenging for model’s eyes so get ready to use sunglasses or a hat or find a way for model to look down or open her eyes on the count of three. It’s important that different models have different eyes sensitivity, some start to tear up just from being in the sun. Studio light (reflector or cone for example) is much easier in this regard.

Another challenge of the hard light is geometry. Depending on how high the sun is, hard shadow from model’s nose and chin can become a problem. If your model is wearing sunglasses, they will cast a shadow too. So you would need to be very particular with angles, tilt of the head and position of the chin. Couple of general suggestions from my experience:

  • I try to not let the shadow from model’s nose fall further than half way to her lips.
  • When the light is from the side, I use Rembrandt Triangle to guide how the light falls on the shadowed part of the face
  • I like to use profile angle because it’s less sensitive to gaze direction

Finally, with the hard light one needs to pay a special attention to textures: try to work with a model with good skin and make sure clothes have no wrinkles on them. Work with model who has more static posing style to have all the little details perfectly aligned, use wet or shiny textures on the skin and clothes and most importantly have a lot of fun with it :)

Next we will take a little break from lighting marathon and look at this picture because I got a lot of questions about how it’s been done.

After that I will introduce our next interviewee and on Monday we will continue with Contra Light.