Julie Blackmon’s painterly environmental lighting

September 23, 2010 — 4 Comments

julie blackmon's photo lighting of girl near stairs on guess the lighting blog

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of julie blackmon on guess the lighting blog

copyright, Julie Blackmon.

Although Julie oftentimes uses digital collage and montage techniques in her imagery, I’m guessing this shot, entitled PC, was created entirely in-camera using 4 lights.

Camera: Hasselblad 503cw with 50mm lens and Kodak Portra NC 400 ASA film, set on a tripod 8 feet back from girl. Shot at 1/60, f11, ISO 400.

Lighting: The key light on the little cherub is a grid reflector with 30 degree grid at f11, positioned 4 feet to camera right. A white umbrella at f2.8 (-4 stops) placed 8 feet to camera right serves as a light fill for the room. A standard reflector at f16 (+1 stop) is behind the wall to camera left, aimed upward at the woman on the stairs. Another standard reflector at f11 is set behind the wall to camera right, aimed toward the staircase. The glowing computer screen was added in post.

Comments: A zealous Mac fan and tough negotiator, Julie’s 3 year-old daughter (she uses family members in most of her photos) initially refused to pose for this shot out of principle. Julie offered up later bedtimes, broccoli-free dinners and an extra hour of TV to no avail. When Julie finally agreed to trade the toy rocking-horse for a Classic American Shetland Pony, her daughter threw on her pretty white dress, hopped in front of the lens, smiled and said, “okay, mommy, let’s make some art.”

  • DP

    I would venture to guess that the little girl is a second exposure. I don’t see any light spilling onto the rug, but she is nicely lit. Thoughts?

    • great eye. i was thinking the grid would keep the light off the rug, but if the girl was shot separately and comped in, then the room was probably shot with only the natural light at a longer exposure.

  • @tsabarese I don’t think this was shot with ambiant. If you look closely at the painting behind her it seems there is an octabox reflection. Also the horse is showing some light coming from camera right I think.

    Another thing I noticed is that there should maybe be a reflection on the floor of the woman walking up the stairs.

  • Guildford Photographer

    Got to be a comp, surely. I’d agree on the lighting, only that it was two exposures.

    John Godwin