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Less Lighting for Drama

September 30, 2010

I was photographing a sculpture piece by Noelle Perkins today and wound up with two strongly different images.  The piece is a horse carved from pink alabaster and is about ten inches long and maybe seven inches tall.  I was doing a three point lighting system again like the one described here:


Placing it at this angle on the table seemed to be the most interesting view.  I liked the clarity of detail and like the gray paper sweep behind the sculpture in this photograph, but this image also seemed kind of flat.  It’s a good descriptive photo but I wondered if it could be more interesting.

I turned off the lamp to the left and tried using less light, more shadow.  Noelle liked this picture better; the background seems more dramatic, the edges of the statue pop out more showing the outline of the form better.  More of the texture in the mane and tail shows.

I shot the piece from all angles with the full three points of light and just the two points for the more deeply shadowed ‘dramatic’ shots.  Noelle can use either set as she needs to.  It was very easy to turn the one lamp on and off for each shot and get two very different looking images of the same artwork.  I think trying a “less is more” strategy paid off.

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