Phil V's picture

Headshot 9/24

This was from a recent headshot session. I was playing with getting a steep light falloff so that the farther parts of her face became rapidly darker. The background is actually pure white seamless.

200mm · f/2.8 · 1/250s · ISO 100
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How do you actually get that kind of falloff? I like it.

You need the lights really close to your subject. The falloff occurs due to the inverse square law — things closer to the light get more light flux, things farther from the light get less light flux. Only this has to be really pronounced to see the effect from the front of the subject's face to the back. I also pointed the lights almost at each other so the "focal point" (not actually a focal point... more the convergence point or something?) was in front of the subject.

Then that means to get that wonderful shallow DOF, the lights have to be at a fairly low power???

Yep, the lights were set pretty low and I tried to cut out as much ambient light as possible by turning the lights in the room off.

Very curious what your light setup was. Great image! Thanks for the post!

This was with a softbox and stripbox (why? because I don't have two of the same thing) pointed almost at each other — so the light converges in front of the subject — placed very close to the subject with the camera shooting between them. That way there is quite a bit of falloff, but still a very soft overall light. I need to remember to take photos of my lighting setups for the future. That way I could just post a photo of the setup. Follow my work and next time I'll get that for you!

Just came across this while looking at product shots of all things. Excellent lighting.

Thanks Timothy!