Exercise: Contrast and Shadow Fill

My tutor told me to be a bit selective with choosing the exercises for this part of the course. So I have skipped a few that I can't do yet and focused on the one with the indoor lighting. I found this exercise particularly interesting because with diffusing and reflecting the light, one does not only see a difference in what is lit and not, but also how surface and colour differ within each setting. I'll put all the photos up in pairs and show my findings through the differences. First the differences with just one light and different shutter speeds: 

First there's the obvious difference in the areas that are too dark or too bright. On both sides of the spectrum details disappear. In the darkest image the object seems almost flat, with the shadows being almost as dark as the background. With a stop lighter the surface of the object becomes most obvious from all pictures, because the lighter part shows enough shadows in the lighter area. At zero stop the shape and details of the object becomes visible reaching its best point 1 stop up before the lit side gets over lit.

Let's continue with looking at the differences in same stops but with diffused light:

The first thing to be noticed are the shadows. They are much softer and less defined than with undiffused lights. This is pretty logical since the light is broken and dispersed in all different kind of angles. This is also the reason why the background is more visible and the unlit side of the object is much more visible than without a diffuser. The darkest photo still shows the contours of the object and therefor more depth. On the whole I do think the photos are less dramatic than the ones without the diffuser. The surface of the object is less visible. For lighting there certainly is a much broader range between being over or under lit, so that is something to keep in mind when shooting people for example.


Here come the photos with reflected light going from 1 meter distance without diffuser till 1/4 meter with diffuser: 

The rule of the inversed square really comes to show. The longer the distance of the light, the more the light needs to be divided and gets less bright. If the reflector is closer, the dark side of the object gets more lit, showing the details of the dark side. When the light is diffused, the effect is even stronger. The dark side is almost just as strong as the lit side and there are hardly any shadows. Which makes the details of the surface harder to see. 

Then the last two, one with reflected with silver light and the other with gold zebra reflection. 

The main difference is that the surface of the object is much more visible with the golden zebra reflector, the colour of the light certainly has an influence on how it is reflected on the object itself obviously. There are also some reflective parts visible that weren't visible in the other settings. The shades are harder, which show that the golden reflector sends directer light. 

I'm thinking of what is my favorite settings. First of all it all depends on what it is that you want to show. If it's the surface than certainly direct light with a reflective reflector, like the golden one. If I want to portray the shapes a bit more probably diffused with a white reflector. What I have noticed is that a slight change in lighting can define the entire atmosphere of an image itself. It is something I want to work more with and know what happens when I do what!