One-Minute Lighting Tip: Lighting on Two Planes

Quick, what color is the tile that this Turkish candy is sitting on?

If you said green, you should probably hit the jump to learn about how lighting on two planes gives you more control over your photos.


First things first: The tile that the candy on is actually black.

Second, let's walk through the light reader Nionyn used for the shot and see what's what.

The main light is a gridded Vivitar 283, coming in from front camera left. The second light is another Vivitar 283 from back camera right. The third light is yet another 283, gelled green, aimed at the wall which is out of the frame behind the candy sitting on the black tile.

So, what you are seeing in the foreground is the (gelled green) lit wall being reflected in the black tile that the candy is on. In other words, in this shot, the black tile is essentially a mirror.

Since the front tile is black, the green wall is not being contaminated with any pre-existing tone or color from the tile in the photo's foreground. And since the candy is being lit by two gridded 283's, the light hitting the candy is not spilling onto the back wall. Thus, the smooth, intense color around the candy.

The two items (candy and wall) are being lit on two completely discrete planes. And the fact that the tile is reflecting the back wall (because of the camera position) is what brings it all together.

58... 59... 60.

Related reading:
DIY Macro Box Shoot w/Black Granite


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