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soft box photography for portrait painting

I wonder how is ur lightening set up when u photograph a model for painting from a reference photo, I think using soft box lights is not the best idea for a reference material, may be removing the white diffuser to have strong shadows, what are ur thoughts??
would be interested to know 


  • I'm only just getting into the Light Box thing. I have set up objects like kitchen utensils and fruit as my subject, but the results can be too dramatic. It's fun to do but the resulting photos can be overwhelming, so if it was done to a human subject, ( if that's what you mean ), then it would produce overly dramatic lighting. Not something you would want in a portrait. But remember you are in charge and you can do whatever you like, learn from it and either repeat it or never do it again. 
  • dencaldencal -
    edited November 2017

    Some subjects may look better without the diffuser if you need textures and sharp edges. Female models will look better with a diffuser in the soft tonings and smoother textures. A soft box is very useful as a natural looking fill light, less so without a diffuser.

    Here are some great side by side shots.


  • an excerpt from the above link:
    "The larger the light source, in relation to the subject, the softer the light becomes. Soft light reduces contrast, conceals skin blemishes, and softens the edges of the shadows. Another important distinction between small and large softboxes is the way that large softboxes cover the entire subject with light. This overall coverage is an essential feature for full-length portraiture or wedding photography.">>
    Personally I like natural light but that's not always possible or convenient. Controlling reflected light is always problematic too because I like to have a single light source. This sometimes creates unwanted sharpness or darkness but I've learned to compensate by softening edges and shadows with the brush.

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