“ Light is everything. Painters start on white canvas. We start on black canvas and so paint lights. And with excellent light, the difference between cameras becomes minimal.”
Julien Apruzzese is passionate about art and science. Working as a photographer and retoucher, he sees himself as an image creator. Like a painter, the realistic rendering hardly pleases him, he prefers a pictorial aesthetic, based on an interpretation of reality. Since 2013, Julien has been running a photography and retouching studio in Paris dedicated to image creation for brands. For him concept, light and post-production is a full service meeting the needs of different communication poles. Today he is also known as a Fujifilm and Profoto ambassador, Capture One Pro and Photoshop expert trainer and he is currently developing a research and development studio specializing in post-production tools.
Light is everything
We asked Julien what importance light has for him and his work and how he evaluates the influence of light on good photography. “Light is everything. Painters start on white canvas. We start on black canvas and so paint lights. With excellent light, the difference between cameras becomes minimal. The difficulty is to know exactly how light works.”
“set.a.light 3D is an awesome educative tool. You are able to test easily the theory of light.”
That is one of the reasons why Julien quickly discovered the advantages of using set.a.light 3D. “This software is moreover the perfect tool to test lights you don’t have and to try things that would be difficult to try in reality. And what I have also discovered for myself is that when I work on little studio or little booth, i can simulate the space and test which focal is usable.”
From concept to light with SAL3D (set.a.light 3D)
During his Profoto talks at the Salon de la Photo in Paris, Julien had the opportunity to explain his workflow. The talk was about the process of creating an image, from concept to light and the strength to work inside set.a.light 3D to play with our creativity. The purpose of this talk was to demonstrate the strength of working with hard light and still obtaining «softness» (the density of the shadows).
Distance, direction and relative size for each of the three lights was detailed to develop the concept into an image.
The lighting setup
The main light was a Profoto B1X with an OCF snoot at high distance, low relative size and in open loop shadow shape. A black panel cut the light to create a shadow zone on her left ear. The fill light was a B1X with an OCF Softbox Strip and a half CTB gel at a mid distance, mid relative size and in flat shadow shape (Ratio 1:4). The ambient light was a B1X with an Umbrella Deep White L with diffuser, at low distance, high relative size and in overhead shadow shape (Ratio 1:8)
The main light was a Snoot for two reasons: one for hard shadows, two for small beam of light.
A Strip-Light was used as fill light to soften the dark and hard shadow of the snoots. So this light is only used to lighten the shadows, but it is not supposed to create its own shadows.
Finally, the ambient light was a big umbrella with diffuser for the reason to have diffuse shadows on an overall gradient from top to bottom.
“The concept was about a woman alone looking at her own thoughts”
“The concept was about a woman alone looking at her own thoughts. The mood was dark, enigmatic, inspired by some series atmosphere like “The Handmaid’s Tale” or “Mindhunter”. Muted color has been chosen to let express alone the red of the skin.”
Learn from Julien Appruzzese’s experience with these tips
Is there something about lighting you wish you already knew at the start of your photography career?
I would have liked to have the opportunity to have access to books where i could have studied the science of light. But it`s still difficult today to find these informations. As a beginner you can access millions of tutorials on Youtube, but without understanding how light works, this will not help you.
Do you have any tips for people who want to start working on their lighting techniques?
Don’t think that sun light is better than anything else! Sun, candle, flash, iPhone light, continuous light, led, etc… work the same way. They are all: light. You just need to understand how light works to play with every light. Never forget that sun light on Mercury planet is a soft light ;)
Find this setup in the Community (available from version V2.5):
- Open your set.a.light 3D (From V2.5)
- Click the tab COMMUNITY
- Type in the Setup ID 11031798 in the field “Light Setup ID” and click “filter”
- Comment, Like or download the setup directly into your timeline
If you don’t already have set.a.light 3D,download the trial version and give it a try. DOWNLOAD
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This post is also available in: German