Heimo Schmidt’s ethereal portrait lighting in his “Myth” series

October 6, 2010 — 9 Comments

heimo schmidt's photo lighting for myth series on guess the lighting blog

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram for heimo schmidt on guess the lighting

copyright, Heimo Schmidt.

Heimo’s Myths reinterpret the Norse mythology of Icelandic culture and give it a modern sensibility. This meticulously art-directed image was created with 1 light.

Camera: Toyo 45Aii with 150mm lens and Fuji Pro 160s film, set on a tripod 8 feet back. Shot at 1/60, f32, ISO 100 (pulled 1/2 stop).

Lighting: the key light is a white umbrella at f32 set 8 feet to camera right and 10 feet high. A white bounce card provides the fill (f16)  to camera left. The sun is high and behind the barn, providing the subtle hair light on her braid and added definition to the grass.

Comments: To this day, Heimo firmly believes he didn’t upset or offend any of the Norse Gods with this photo project. And that nothing supernatural or otherworldly happened while shooting. But when, immediately after breaking down this shot, a lighting bolt split the barn in two, the sky turned a brownish red and the model’s hair morphed into a pack of spit-spewing, miniature hyenas, some on set felt otherwise.

  • DP

    Multiple exposures? You have white windowsills and black grass. I could see the church being painted black for the shot but can’t resolve how the grass is black and the windows are exposed just fine.

    • could definitely be multiple exposures. could also be a bit of photoshop. tough to say.

  • Wesley

    You show the umbrella pointed away from her, as if it were bounced, though I’m imagining you meant shoot-through? Or did you mean bounced off a white translucent?

    • i meant bounced off an opaque umbrella with a white interior, versus a silver interior.

      • Wesley


  • Marshall

    The very-bright windows caught my eye as well. The deepening of the sky towards the top of the frame suggests to my eye that the sun is low, behind the building or even below the horizon.

    (I kinda hate to raise counter thoughts given how much I love and am learning from the series. I mean, it didn’t stop me, obviously, but still. Great stuff.)

    • no, bring on those counter-thoughts. this is definitely an interactive endeavor. you bring up many good points. my only caution is that i think lots of post work was done on this image. i’d love to get heimo’s behind-the-scenes input.

  • Ike

    Just wanted to say I really like this site. I’m learning a lot.