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How to use feathering with your lights – set.a.light 3D V2.0 – Tips and trick

A guest article by Ole Berek.

Have you ever wondered how photographers use their lights to achieve an even light
distribution across the frame? Today let me show you how. To measure the correct
exposure I have used the greycard trick as posted last time.

To keep this example simple we will use front lighting and a 60x60cm softbox. However
you can use the same trick also for Rembrandt style lighting etc. and different lighting

Usually we use a studio light in an approx. 45° tilt angle to the subject.

Let us check the image in this case. You will find the head to be considerable brighter
compared to the hips and legs. We cannot find many details in the dark skirt.

This is because the light travels a much longer distance from the top to the bottom
compared which causes this brightness difference.

In fact the light has to travel twice the distance and this results into an approx. lose of 75%
of brightness at the bottom compared to the top as per inverse square law (see the white
arrow distance compared to the orange one). The red arrow is the bright hotspot center of
the softbox.

What do we do against it? We feather the light!

To do this we change the tilt angle from the softbox to about 75° and adjust the height and
distance slightly. The angle will depend on the light former you will use, so you may want
to try out which angle works best individually.

This changes the light spread into something way more evenly which is not only because
of the traveling distances of the light. You see we placed the darker softbox edge (orange
arrow) close to the model and the brightest middle point of the softbox (red arrow) is
pointing to the hips and legs which also helps distributing light.

Look at this great picture. You immediately see the difference of the brightness if you look to the dark skirt. It now reveals details of the fabric and even the legs have a good skin color.

Thank you for reading and enjoy trying it out. :-)

Autor: Ole Berek (thank you very much for this great article)

Here you can download the .set and experiment with it
Download: Feathering.set

Note: Please start set.a.light 3D after the download and open the file from there! The file cannot be opened with a double click on the Mac.

This post is also available in: German

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