Photo Tip – Why You Need A Fill Light In Portrait Photography!

In the last few photo tips articles, we have been discussing portrait photography lighting patterns… Short, broad, split, the loop pattern, Rembrandt and finally the butterfly lighting pattern. Today’s photo tip is about controlling the pattern’s shadows with a fill light.

Each of our patterns has their good and bad points and will be perfect for some faces and terrible for others. If you haven’t done any experimenting to master them, I suggest you make that your weekend project!

These patterns are essential building blocks to mastering portrait photography.

As photographers, we tend to concern ourselves with light, almost to the exclusion of everything else – but shadows are just as important! In fact, each of the lighting patterns we’ve been discussing is named for the type of shadow the light source casts!

This lighting pattern series has been all about building them with one light – the main (or key) light – and how to position it to get the lighting pattern most pleasing for any specific facial type.

While it doesn’t matter what sort of light it is, it could be a studio flash, the sun, a window, a reflector even nothing more than a flashlight – it is important to have the shadows to add depth and life to our portrait photography.

But, when we look at portraits done by professional photographers, we note that they almost always have more than one light source. Typically they have three and as many as five or six!

Why? And how do we know when more lights are needed and where to put them?

Again, it all goes back to the shadows!

Suppose you are using a short lighting pattern to help visually narrow the subject’s face. This works because – visually – shadows tend to recede and lit areas come forward. Since the shadow is closest to the camera, it makes the face look thinner.

But, the color and depth of a shadow can impart emotions and feelings into a portrait that we don’t want! If we are using one light, we will have a sharp line dividing the highlight and shadow areas and we lose all the detail in the shadow area.

The shadowed area can be very dark – which if we want a lot of drama and emotion in our portrait, that’s a good thing… but what if we don’t want all the drama? Obviously, we need to lighten the shadow, while still maintaining our slimming light pattern.

To do this we add a second light. This is called the “fill light”. It’s named for the fact that this light fills in the shadows!

With a fill light, we can now have total control over the shadows! We can turn it off and have totally black shadows or we can turn it up and have the shadows virtually disappear – and anything in between!

Note: if we have the same amount of light intensity on the fill light as the main light the shadows are gone. If we have MORE light on the fill light, it will cast a shadow on the (previously) lit side. If it does this, it becomes the main light and the other one is the fill light. In other words the fill light is always of equal or lesser intensity than the main light.

To get an understanding of the fill light and what it does, look through your favorite magazines and first try to determine the lighting pattern, then where the main light was positioned and whether or not they used a fill light. If they did use one, why? If not – why not?

In portrait photography, the depth of the shadow is as important as the quality of the light and will make a huge impact on your viewer’s perceptions. We control the depth with a fill light.

Use today’s photo tip to start thinking about how you can use lighting patterns and a fill light in your portrait photography to start controlling your viewer’s emotions – and you will be on the way to consistently winning photo contests.

Butterflies And Hiccups – A Guided Pregnancy Journal

Butterflies & Hiccups (New Beginnings Production Company, 2002)was conceived by Laurie J. Wing during her two pregnancies when she could not find a comprehensive journal for those who do not like to blank journal-keep.

Butterflies & Hiccups is a guided pregnancy journal that allows you to document everything you experience during your nine months of pregnancy. The questions are designed to elicit thought-provoking responses from the moment you find out you are pregnant up until you bring your baby home. This type of pregnancy journal is not just for the mom- and dad-to-be, but when your baby gets older, Butterflies & Hiccups makes for good story time reading. Kids love to hear stories about themselves, especially when they were hiccupping in their mommy’s belly and how much they would kick and make their moms crave crazy foods.

The connection between Mom and Baby begins before a child is even born. How many pregnant women ask their own moms if they felt this way or that way during their pregnancy and how many moms actually remember the details of their pregnancies?

Here are 10 of our favorite journaling prompts from Butterflies & Hiccups:

o If you heard the baby’s heartbeat, how did you react?

o Have people started treating you differently now that you’re pregnant? How so?

o How many times have strangers touched your belly?

o Have you felt Braxton-Hicks contractions yet? If so, describe the feeling?

o Have you had any daydreams about your baby?

o What’s the best piece of pregnany/birth advice you have received so far?

o Estimate how many times you have had to recite your due date so far.

o What are your thoughts about returning to work after the baby is born?

o Have you been nesting? If so, what have you done to prepare for the baby’s arrival?

o What’s the craziest question you wanted to ask your practitioner, but were too embarrassed to ask?

Butterflies & Hiccups provides a section each month for practitioner visits to document the first time you heard the baby’s heartbeat, your first ultrasound, questions or concerns for your practitioner, special tests and other important issues addressed at your practitioner visits. “I wish I could prescribe this book to every pregnant woman!” says Dr. Donnica Moore, a women’s health specialist who recently appeared on Oprah and The View.

Pregnant women know the many different symptoms that occur during pregnancy from morning sickness to breast changes and heartburn. Each month you can document how your symptoms changed throughout your pregnancy.

Your baby’s development progress also is exciting to follow. As you learn about pregnancy and your baby’s development, you can write about the different stages. There is room to include a photo each month of your growing belly. The weight measurement chart allows you to record your weight each month and, if applicable, you can document the dad-to-be’s weight gain.
Butterflies & Hiccups offers reminders including a hospital bag checklist for Mom and Baby, a birth plan checklist for you and your practitioner and questions such as “Did you strap an infant car seat in your car?”

Many women are on bed rest due to complications during pregnancy. There is a special section for the expectant mom on bed rest to record her experiences while also offering a section of things to do while on bed rest since lying in bed could get boring when it is for any length of time.
While the journal asks questions about registering for baby gifts, there is also a baby shower section that allows you to record the memories of your baby shower along with the theme, menu, games, guests who attended and a gift list, if desired.

Butterflies & Hiccups throws in a bit of humor to make journaling a little fun and frivolous. Here are some of our favorite humorous prompts:

o Is it difficult to polish your toenails or tie your shoes as your pregnancy progresses?

o Have there been any UMPs (Unidentified Moving Parts) across your belly?

o Have you ventured out in a maternity bathing suit yet, weather permitting?

o Have you received unsolicited advice or comments about pregnancy?

o Do your rings still fit?

o Has your shoe size increased?

o Are you feeling clumsy?

The “Fun Ideas to Pamper Yourself” section offers just that – ideas to pamper yourself during your pregnancy. After all, your body is going through some major changes while you are providing nourishment for another little life. You deserve a little special treatment!

There are blank pages within the journal for you to add your own special thoughts. If some questions or pages do not apply to your pregnancy or life situation, simply use one of the blank pages to journal. The same goes for the holiday section. Since families celebrate different holidays, this section can be tailored to reflect the holidays and beliefs of your own family and how you celebrated during your pregnancy.

Julie Tupler, R.N., B.S.N., certified personal trainer, certified childbirth educator and president of Maternal Fitness, works with pregnant women on a daily basis and says, “Butterflies & Hiccups is a beautiful, yet thorough journal to help you remember those wonderful moments in time – for many years! I recommend it to all my pregnant moms.”

Butterfly Tattoos Can Capture Your Heart

Butterfly tattoos are among the most popular of tattoo designs, especially for women. When you are trying to create a unique but feminine tattoo, a butterfly tattoo is a great start. Butterflies are graceful and beautiful and that grace translates very well into a tattoo. The whole idea of the caterpillar transforming into the beautiful butterfly captures the heart and people love to relate to the idea. Tattooing is all about expressing yourself and many people want to express a change or a rebirth, and having a butterfly tattoo can do that.

Butterfly tattoos will look stunning whether they are inked in black only or a variety of colors are used. The size of the tattoo can vary widely depending on where it is placed. You can put a small petite butterfly on your ankle or wrist or a larger one on your shoulder or lower back. The wings on the butterfly can be placed in different positions to make it unique. You can spread them out as in full flight and color them in beautiful eye catching colors or have them tucked in a bit as if just coming out of the cocoon.

The lower back, shoulder and ankle are some of the most popular spots for a butterfly tattoo. Some even have them placed on hidden areas, only seen by loved ones or close friends. No matter where they are put, they are almost always dramatic and stunning. As a female you can’t go wrong with some type of a butterfly tattoo. Even thought it’s a popular design, you can make it unique enough that it represents you. You can start with a small tattoo and later add a flower to enlarge it.

There are so many different kinds of butterfly tattoos that finding the right design for you can take some time. Take some time online to browse the many different designs there are. You can find big and bold butterflies to small, petite designs. Look at photos of real butterflies to get other ideas. You’ll find many different designs, but keep looking until the one you want finds you.

Five Great Places For a Photo Wall Mural

If you watch any of the popular home decorating shows on TV these days, you will most likely come across a really great room design using a wall mural. Photo wall murals are so versatile in subject and size, the decorating possibilities are limitless. Here are five great ideas online wall murals customers have come up with for photo wall murals and custom wall murals:

1. Tropical beach vista for a master bath suite. What better way to relax and let your cares melt away than to gaze upon a serene tropical beach while relaxing in your Jacuzzi? It sounds great in theory, but many of our clients have done this and they say it really does take bathing to a whole new level.

2. Transform your child’s bedroom into a fun adventure with a photo mural of his or her favorite animal or wildlife scene. The usual assortment of lions, tigers, and ponies are here for the choosing of course, but also the unusual-cheetahs, frogs, butterflies, elephants as well as friends from the sea such as dolphins, sharks, tropical fish and more. Your child’s imagination is boundless- indulge his or her love of nature and learning with a fierce animal wall mural.

3. Create a relaxing retreat in your home office. One of our clients called this his Zen den. What do you like to look at when you relax? Flowers and forest scenes are popular choices, but water scenes such as lakes, streams, and waterfalls are classically relaxing as well. Our Zen den client used a bamboo forest mural which was perfect for his taste.

4. There are many handy men out there who have customized their basement bars with photo murals of their favorite ball players or stadium scenes. There is so much you can do when you finish your basement, and adding a beloved custom image of your favorite team player is a very personal touch.

5. People have absolute love affairs with cities, and that is probably why our cityscape murals are so popular. From a once in a lifetime trip to Paris to fond childhood memories of Millennium Park in Chicago, our clients love to accent their rooms with skyline and cityscape murals.

The best thing about our site is that if you don’t see what you’re looking for, chances are, we can find it! Our image library is huge and we are always happy to help you find just what you are looking for. Contact us today and let’s get started on your one-of-a-kind decorating project!