Photo Tip – Understanding Portrait Photography Lighting Ratios!

Today’s portrait photography photo tip involves lighting ratios. Unfortunately, I’ve got some bad news. There’s going to be (gulp!) some math involved!

But don’t worry, it’s pretty easy.

We’ve been talking about lighting patterns and how important the shadows they create are to our portrait photography.

On one end of the spectrum, if there isn’t any shadow – it is very flat light and we lose most or all of our sense of depth and shape. Remember, it’s the shadows that define form. No shadows would be a lighting ratio of 1:1.

At the other extreme, if there is a shadow that is totally black, we lose all visible detail in the shadowed area. It is just one massive black area. This is a lighting ratio at or exceeding about 8:1.

And everything in between.

There really isn’t anything wrong with any particular light to shadow ratio. They all have their uses. A small ratio can help disguise wrinkles and acne – or just take the viewer’s attention off the model’s face and push it to the clothing. A large ratio can add drama and mystery to a photo.

The important thing is to recognize that lighting ratios are important to the viewer’s experience and to consciously make the decision of what ratio to use. PLEASE! Make the decision! Don’t let your camera or the conditions decide for you!

Here is how to calculate the ratio…

As we’ve been discussing, in our lighting set up the main light establishes the lighting pattern we want – short, broad, flat, split, loop, Rembrandt or butterfly. The lighting pattern also determines the shape of the shadow.

Our second light, the fill light – determines the depth of the shadow otherwise known as the lighting ratio.

By the way, keep in mind that when I say “light”, the source could be anything. It could be an on camera flash, off camera flash, studio light, reflector, window, candle… anything!

To determine the lighting ratio, all you have to do is first turn off or block the fill light and do a meter reading of the main light – all by itself. This can be an in camera meter or a handheld one. The key point is that you only measure the light from the main light.

Next, turn off or block the main light and meter the fill light.

Clearly, if the fill light is a reflector of some sort, you cannot turn off the main light or you will have nothing!

When I say to block a light, I mean to block it from the meter. You want to be sure that whatever light you are measuring is the only one affecting the reading.

The difference between the two is the lighting ratio!

If you have a 1:1 ratio it means that the key light and the fill light are of the same light intensity. An 8:1 ratio means that the key light is 8 times brighter.

Now for the – easy – math. Calculating the various exposure differences involves a factor of two. This goes back to the days of film.

A film (or ISO) speed of 200 is twice as fast as a film speed of 100. In other words 100 film requires one “stop” more light for exposure. It doubled in exposure value.

An ISO of 400 (200 doubled) is twice as fast as 200… and so on. 400 is two “stops” more than 100.

A lighting ratio of 1:1 is the same. 2:1 doubles the light and is one stop difference. 4:1 is double 2:1 and requires yet another stop. 8:1 is 4 stops difference from 1:1.

So to calculate the exposure differences, just multiply or divide by 2! A 5:1 ratio is 2 1/2 stops more than 1:1.

See? It’s easy as pie. (The kind you eat, not the mathematical pi which isn’t easy at all!)

Today’s portrait photography tip is designed to get you thinking about the differences between light and shadow (lighting ratios) and how they affect the viewer. While it seems to be a simple concept… it is really quite advanced.

With today’s photo tip – by choosing our lighting ratio – we’re starting to take control of our portrait photography by deciding on what sort of mood we want to impart. We are becoming artists, not snap shooters. This can’t happen with the camera on automatic!

Butterfly Wings Tattoo

Butterfly wings tattoos are usually not what the majority of women are thinking about when they enter the tattoo parlor, but it is very popular nonetheless. The high average of ladies get butterfly tattoos on their ankles. It is a common subject today when women enter tattoo parlors seeking advice on which kind of design they should or should not get inked onto them. The majority of artist usually come to an answer of either a butterfly design or ladybug. The third choice is some kind of flower decoration with pretty colors usually on the lower back waist area.

Having a butterfly inked onto you is a very feminine trait and the insect is very lady like as well thus making a perfect match for that cute girly tattoo. How about getting an enormous size wings tattooed onto your back or lower waist? It may give you the feeling of freedom and flying away when troubles occur or you just want to be alone and explore for awhile. Of course, not literally but mentally. Either way, this design will most likely make you feel like you have freedom or choice.

When you consider getting a tattoo of this creature, remember that there are thousands of different color variations and it would be wise to check out some photos on the Internet first before making your decision. Even a silhouette of a butterfly tattoo is equally stunning if done right. There are thousands of websites out there to give you a head start.

Personalised Photo Frames

Each time you look at the personalised photo frames that you have just received or or those adorning the living room of someone’s home, you probably focus on the image in it and admire the people smiling back at you. Very few people take the time to actually notice the frame. And, the fact that the perfect frame chosen with care to coordinate with the setting and people in the picture can work to enhance the effect of the photograph. Read the engraving and you connect with the situation in which the picture was taken and its significance to the owner. Stop a minute and check the precision of the engraving and the style, and you’ll want to know more about the intricate art of creating personalised photo frames.

Photo Frame Materials

Photo frames come in an amazing range of materials and finishes. You can choose the one you like depending on the kind of photograph you want to enhance.

Wooden Frames: Frames that are made from wood such as walnut, oak, pine, ash, natural wood, or any other lend a traditional feel to the image inside. In addition, wooden frames can have different shades such as light and dark with varnishes that can give them an antique finish. Old, treasured, sepia toned pictures of your grandparents perhaps, seated beside the antique clock you still own can match very well with a wooden frame that gives it a warm, traditional look. Team these personalised photo frames with a more contemporary photograph and they’ll lend warmth to any room you place them in.

Silver-polished Frames: You can use these frames for just about any kind of pictures you want to highlight or gift. Not only do they take engraving very well, but they can also show off designs, both embossed and raised. They also give a very stylish look to any room. For instance, if you wish to frame a picture of newly-weds, you could pick out a frame with hearts and maybe, ribbons. But, if you have a baby’s picture that you want to present to his proud grandparents, choose a frame with a teddy. Or, think about a frame with pink butterflies for a little girl.

Gold-polished Frames: Just like silver, gold has a unique allure. Choose a polished gold frame or you could try a combination of silver with glittering gold in diamante finish mounting to lend appeal to the picture inside it. You can also choose personalised photo frames that have embossed or raised patterns.

Glass Frames: Typically, glass personalised photo frames are available in the classic white or the very elegant black that makes the silver engraving stand out clearly. Glass has a very contemporary and new age feel about it by itself. But, you can play around with silver beading around the edges or maybe, choose a combination frame of glass and silver that can make your picture say a thousand words.

Themed Photo Frames

As your expert, professional framer will advise you, you can pick out special frames to match the theme of the photograph when ordering personalised photo frames.

Graduation Frames: Your graduation day picture needs the correct setting to match the happy look on your face when you want to present the personalised photo frames to your parents and loved ones. They should convey the sense of achievement you feel when holding that certificate in your hands. Several factors go into the framing of this photograph. To begin with, you’ll need a frame that enhances the image, but does not draw the attention of the viewer away from the person in the image. Accordingly, you’ll need to choose a frame of wood that is either painted, varnished, stained, or in its natural feel. Graduation day photographs need to be protected from possible damage from exposure to air. This is why; you need a frame that prevents cracking, discolouring, or fading.

Certificate Frames: Certificates are the culmination of many years of hard work and perseverance, and having devoted so many years of your life to attaining it, you’ll want to do your best to preserve it. Saving it in a box may not be able to protect it from dust, heat, and dampness that can damage it. A great idea is to have it framed so that any kind of damage is prevented.

Multiple Frames: Multiple personalised photo frames are very versatile and allow you to do a lot with your photographs. Choose personalised frames that can depict different times in a child’s life like from the first toothless smile to the graduation day photograph. Or, perhaps, a couple’s first dance at their wedding to the time when they’re holding their first baby. Have them engraved with the dates and a special message and you create a cherished memento. You could also combine a graduation day picture along with the certificate itself. Or, try a completely different idea by having a stylish clock and a framed photo of a loved one combined into amazing personalised photo frames.

Multiple Framed Images: Combine images in different sizes and shapes and arrange them frames, and you can relate an entire story. Depict the family tree or talk about the growing stages of a child. Add a special engraving and turn the personalised photo frames into a precious keepsake to be preserved for years to come.


To further heighten the appeal of your photograph, you can use the art of mounting to set it against the perfect background. Mounting is the paper that covers the extra space between the edge of your image and the sides of the frame. By using mounting, you can ensure that the image is completely visible and is not hidden in the periphery. To project the amazing effect you’re looking for, the mounting paper must be at least 1.5 microns thick. In addition, it should be free of acid so it does not damage the picture over an extended period. The 45° angle at which it is cut can also add to the optical effect. Choose from a variety of colours aside from the classic grey, black and white, or pick out other hues that match the colours in the image. You can also opt for distinct patterns that add to the charm of the photograph and gives it a modern, whimsical touch. Do keep in mind that the width of the mounting can also change the perception of the image in your personalised photo frames.

Engraving the Photo Frames

A simple thing as getting the frame engraved involves a great deal of thought and creativity. To begin with, you need to make sure that you get the spellings, dates, and message absolutely right. A lovely message using the ideal font can touch a cord the viewer’s heart. It can make you smile or it can bring a tear to your eye. It can evoke a fond memory or fill you with nostalgia for a long gone moment in time. The finishing with which the engraving is done can also make a world of difference in the appeal of the message. Engravers use various tools to display the message depending on the material of the frame. For instance, the diamond-tipped stylus that provides precision and finesse to the writing on your personalised photo frames.

Choosing the Right Glass

The glass you choose for the personalised photo frames you order is another important factor. You can choose from anti-glare glass, museum glass, and conservation glass. You can also choose from glazed glasses that have a special coating on them to further protect the image behind them. Should you use plexiglass, you can expect that it is unlikely to break even if you were to ship it over long distances.

The Art of Creating Personalised Photo Frames

Creating personalised photo frames is a work of art. Talk to the professionals to whom you entrust your precious memories and you will be impressed with the questions they may ask you about your particular taste or the likings of the recipient of your gift. You can choose to send in your images online in the JPEG, TIF, GIF, and Bitmap formats. In case the images are blurry, too large or too small, your framers will adjust them accordingly before printing. If they need changes in the contrast, colour, or brightness, that can be managed too. Take care not to crop the photograph and leave it to the experts to adjust the size.

With so many factors to keep in mind, you can safely say that a simple task of choosing the perfect personalised photo frames to match your picture and the actual framing is an intensely creative task. It needs a great deal of care and precision so that the appeal of the photograph is enhanced and the message conveyed clearly. This is why; you must rely on the specialised expertise of professionals that can understand the sentiments behind your order and bring alive the emotions with which you’ll present the personalised photo frames to your loves ones.

Butterfly Tattoo Design – Beautiful Insects

Butterfly tattoo designs are one of the most popular body art topics today. everywhere around you, many have small butterflies, bigger butterflies, certain tribal butterflies and full, illustrious butterflies. Some are more detailed and then you have your bland ones.

No mater what kind of tattoo you like, to find the perfect design that fits your personality can be easier said than done. These little creatures exist almost everywhere on the earth. Depending on the climate usually decides on the certain camouflage or design of the bugs wings.

Because of the beauty and timidness of the fly, it is not to difficult to understand why women choose this as a form of body art.

There are thousands of varieties of this beautiful but bizarre insect that many could spend months searching through photos to find what they are looking for. Because of this, I have featured some of the best butterfly resources on the Internet.

If you are really stuck and cannot decide on which design fits your need or personality, try going to a butterfly atrium. In case you do not know what these are, they are places of pure beauty that allows the innocent creatures to roam and fly around aimlessly without and harm from predators. The amazing thing about these places is that you really feel as if you are in another world.

I recently visited my brother in Costa Rica and went to an atrium. The minute you close the door behind you it feels like you are visiting another world in the universe. The butterflies actually land on you as if they want to communicate with you.