Tuesday I asked you how this selfportrait could have been lit.
You guys came pretty close in reverse engineering the lighting. I made the picture with two striplights very close to my face. If you’ve never heard of a striplight you might think it’s the low-calory version of the full monty but actually it’s just a slim softbox.
The most important thing is that you all put your brains to work to figure out the lighting. As soon as you start to understand the characteristics of light, you can learn a lot about lighting by watching pictures.
I got the idea to use two striplights for a portrait in february on the toilet of the high speed train between Paris and Brussels. There were two vertical fluorescent lights in the bathroom mirror and I immediately liked the soft light and the somewhat mysterious catchlights. I made this picture with my compact camera so I wouldn’t forget it.
Big softboxes give you nice soft light but sometimes it gets a bit too fluffy to my taste. It’s often hard to control the spill light. A striplight still throws out soft light but it’s easier to control. Usually these things are pretty expensive but I could buy two for about 60 EUR/piece. They even threw a free Manfrotto/Bogen Nano (001B) lightstand in. Or was it the other way around. Anyway, the striplights look like this:
I can’t blame you for thinking these striplights aren’t exactly examples of professional design. But off-course these are just the cardboard boxes of the stands. I noticed that these boxes were about the same size as the lights in the high speed bathroom. I kept the boxes because I wanted to turn them into small striplights one day.
I just cut out the front of the box and put three layers of tracing paper over it. At the back of the box, you see
why I use completely printed albums a hole that’s just big enough to put a small flash in. On the inside I put some packaging material to spread the light more evenly inside the striplight.
That’s all there is. Just put the striplights as close as possible to the face and make a picture. Here are two pictures with the lights in the frame.
The light isn’t as soft as I would like yet, but soon I’ll try a few things to light the complete surface of the striplight evenly.