John Einselen  |  View Profile

Submitted on November 15, 2012

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ISO: 100

Focal Length


Exposure Bias



Canon T2i

Lights Used




Additional Notes

Happy Movember!

This is a pretty basic key + rim setup, with asymmetrical rim lights placed behind the subject. The larger softbox behind was placed above head height to better light the hair, while the other two were about head or shoulder height. I generally prefer to use softboxes for rim lighting because they help reduce harsh lines, especially across the neck where shadows are cast from the shoulders.

All four soft boxes are lit using compact florescent arrays with 5 lights per box. While they're usually used for video, they work well enough for still photography as well. Primary concern is colour correction, since the wavelength response is severely more limited than when using flash heads.

The key light was positioned just above the camera view and about a foot or two in front of the camera. If it's placed too far in front of the camera, you may start to get cross-eyed highlights, but too far above and behind the camera, and the lighting will be less soft.

One downside to using softboxes for rim lighting is that they're completely uncontrolled when it comes to falloff, and they'll shine directly into the camera lens. Black cards were clamped underneath the key light and carefully positioned to block problematic flares.

Photo was taken with a 75mm medium format Zenza Bronica PE lens, attached to a Canon T2i via simple passthrough adapter. A side effect of using a medium format lens on a crop sensor DSLR is that there's no visible vignetting, and I usually add a little bit back in for aesthetic purposes after cropping the image.

Processing was completed in Photoshop, focusing on skin retouching and grading (contrast and colouration), but the lighting is of course unchanged from the original capture. Recursive sharpening and very minor Magic Bullet Looks processing (subtle skin tone adjustments using Cosmo) were completed after cropping.

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