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How to deal with front light? (3 replies)

2 weeks ago
pablobernst 2 weeks ago

Next week im shooting in a small mechanic's shop here in my city. There's no time to put lights (or resources) and we've decide to work with the existent light.

Is a three-walled shop, that faces the street, and that's the only place where the light comes from (from 11 to 13 bounces on a huge building in the other side of the street) 

When shooting against the back of the shop, with all the light coming from behind the camera. How's the best way to deal with this situation? How can i shape the light to generate a little bit more contrast and volume? 

I'm ok with profile shots, even backlight, exposing for the background, but i'm still concerned about front light. 

In other situations i'll build a black T-Bar behind me, but if i do this now, i will completely kill my only light source.

Thanks everyone in advance! 




2 weeks ago
dmullenasc 2 weeks ago

If you can't black out some of the front light and move it more to one side by wrapping with further soft lights, then you have to embrace the reality of the front light -- it's not always a bad thing.  It helps to create contrast within the frame though, whether that is using a topper / wag flag to get the top of the frame to fall-off, or to frame dark objects in the shot, or to create some hot highlights (in a front light situation, I sometimes use a Leko with a narrow beam and put a hot rectangle of light on some piece of furniture to create a highlight as if the sun were peaking into the room through a window.). To create contrast, you need either shadows or bright highlights somewhere in the frame.

The Byre
2 weeks ago
The Byre 2 weeks ago

You might gain some inspiration from how Roger did the barber's shop in TMWWT -

Phil M
2 weeks ago
Phil M 2 weeks ago

I have shot in a lot of aircraft hangers so a very similar situation - I really rather like to pull the action to up by the opening and do my shooting there - its actually a lovely light having a huge soft source as one of the walls for documentary work -

If you are really not able to and have to go down to the back of the room then a LED panel would be handy -

However, I have used a large mirror that was at hand in a pinch for this sort of thing also!

Phil M


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