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Gallery > Amy Powers > Photos > Self Portrait Nudes > Backbend (nudity)

Photographer's Request for Critique

- NUDE -Lighting for this pose

I am specifically interested in lighting ideas for this pose...I don't use much flash, mostly hot lights. I like the shot, but I'd like to play with more contrast.

Critiques

Amy Powers , April 09, 2001; 11:55 P.M.

From the Photographer:

Specifically, I am wondering about lighting this pose. In this shot, I have a halogen spot straight down and two fill spots, at about ten o'clock and two o'clock. I like the lighting in this shot okay, but if anyone has posed a similar shot and has suggestions, I'd be pleased to hear them.

kevin kolosky , April 10, 2001; 01:05 A.M.

Another absolutely exquisite photograph from Ms. Powers. How do I order a signed print? Go ahead and play with the lights if you want, but what you have already done is very nice indeed. The effect is beautiful. Kevin

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Scott Blair , April 10, 2001; 01:07 A.M.

Form

As soon as I saw the thumbnail, I liked it. What a powerful photograph it could be, I began to think, if the only light in the image was a thin crescent highlight along the front of the model, from knee to elbow, with no light beneath.

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Garry Edwards , April 10, 2001; 05:46 A.M.

I think it's a lovely shot, but I think I would have positioned the light further back - not as a rimlight, but to avoid any light spilling onto the support. This would have avoided confusion and would have increased contrast.

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Amy Powers , April 10, 2001; 05:51 A.M.

Support?

Hmmnn, I didn't know there was any confusion. Now I'm confused. What support? Do you mean my arms and legs?

Will Perlis , April 10, 2001; 10:11 A.M.

Confusion?

I think he's talking about that highlight on the table. It's an eye-catcher, but the table doesn't seem to have any connection to the pose, it's just there for physical support.

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J. Scott Schrader , April 10, 2001; 10:14 A.M.

Nice, But...

I like the image, but I too would love to see just a delicate edge of light outlining the models body. (like the edge of light going from mid-thigh to the knee on the models right leg.) Maybe it would work better, maybe not... it might be worth trying.

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kevin kolosky , April 10, 2001; 10:15 A.M.

Are my 50 year old eyes going bad or what. I don't see a table in this photograph. kevin

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J. Scott Schrader , April 10, 2001; 10:17 A.M.

What table?

What are you guys talking about???? I don't see any table??? There appears to be nothing suppporting her other than her hands and feet??? Am I missing something here???

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Garry Edwards , April 10, 2001; 12:48 P.M.

O.K., so there's no table. That, surely, is the point? The shadow cast by the subject and the light spill onto the floor looks like a table, and causes some confusion - in my view there should be only 1 thing to look at, not two. If, as seems to be the case, this is a self portrait, then the photograph is all the more remarkable for that. My comments are intended to be constructive, not deprecating

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Bill Green , April 10, 2001; 01:20 P.M.

From below?

Amy -- try putting your model on stools (hands on one, feet on another). Put white paper on the floor, put your light source (flash, strobe, lamp) about 1' above the paper and aim it at the floor. It should create a diffuse, mysterious light under your subject and wrap around to her back.

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Bettina Ansaria , April 10, 2001; 03:51 P.M.

The picture is too static; you've got shadows going everywhere. I think that's the first thing I'd correct lighting-wise. Then, add some dynamism like the same backbend shots that Ellen Von Unwerth did in one of her books. All this says to me is "Girl bending over backwards under a spotlight." If you want to maintain the stasis in the photo, then why not light her (yourself) like a product--like the way you'd light a Porsche: Overhead striplight placed slightly behind the mid-axis of your torso with a white reflector (42x72) placed on your right side (between you and the camera) to reflect light back onto yourself and help eliminate all those crisscrossing shadows.

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Vagelis Logaras , April 10, 2001; 04:05 P.M.

GREAT PHOTO!!!

Well I don't know much about nude photography but your photo looks great!!!

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Amy Powers , April 10, 2001; 04:11 P.M.

Ok, first things first: in this photo there is me, and there is the carpet. Thats it. No table - its just shadows underneath.<BR> Now that we have that cleared up - thanks, everyone for the suggestions! Some of them I can't do with a self portrait, but I have some models lined up, so hopefully I will put them into use. I appreciate the pointers.

Mike White , April 10, 2001; 04:20 P.M.

Hot Spot

Amy, I might try difusing the overhead spot with a gel or using a softbox - just to tone down the hot spot. OTOH, I sometimes love blown out areas. BTW, I love the shadows - don't change them. One more thought - I would tone down all the lights. Make it a bit more dark. Decrease brightness by 39% in Photoshop - you will see what I see.

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Will Perlis , April 11, 2001; 10:02 A.M.

Table? What table?

It was an artifact from my glasses. Anyway, carpet or no, that extra light needs to go.

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Bill Green , April 11, 2001; 11:44 A.M.

Light painting?

If you are going to try it with a model, how about light painting. You will probably need a film camera with a bulb setting, a flashlight and a dark room. Open the shutter, "paint" the model with the flashlight, putting more light where you want highlights and less where you want shadows.

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Alejandro Orjah , April 11, 2001; 07:01 P.M.

Backbend

This is a powerful image and, I beleve, dynamic. I am talking about the composition here. The shadow beneath the figure, which can only exist because of the light spilling around and over the figure, adds a contrasting flat area beneath the stretched and arched body. The contrast provides the dynamism. The hint of arrowlike projections at the corners of this dark flat rectangle imply movement outward even while the body bends back upon itself and yet also upward and outward. The implication of being bound by contact with the ground and its counterpoint in the upward thrust are a wonderful ambiguity which is enhanced by the dark-light contrast of the clearly living body and the black yawning hole beneath. I think this artist's eye is wonderful. As far as lighting, the only possible improvement would be in adding light to the foreground to further contrast the dark space. To eliminate the light on the ground would, of course, lose the shadow and leave an ungrounded figure floating in space with nothing to hold it down. Sure, that would make the image simpler...but far less challenging.

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Alana Nash , April 11, 2001; 07:18 P.M.

Amy! Another winner! I just love your work.

Alana

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Frank Forgione , April 11, 2001; 07:52 P.M.

Aesthetics 5, Originality

interesting but needs contrast to be more pleasing.

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huskola huskola , April 12, 2001; 01:51 A.M.

Very nice.

It brings to mind "I wish I shot that". Whenever I try anything similar I will think of this great shot. thanx for sharing!

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Barry Fisher , April 12, 2001; 04:12 A.M.

Another nice shot but...

Amy your usual stunning work. I think I like the lighting on the upside of your form and I think it would be very more dramatic and moody if you could somehow eliminate the splash of light and the shadow on the floor. Some have suggested a sliver on the leading forward upper edge etc but you could play with that. But I think it would work as is execpt for the extra light and the shadow. (Just an opinion)

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Dominique Labrosse , April 24, 2001; 08:55 P.M.

Beautiful Work

First of all... beautiful work.

I agree with the above poster. Try using a single strip light (long narrow softbox). Experiment with various falloff effects by moving it closer and further away from the subject.

Here's a shot of mine that uses a strip light (though not to it's full potential)

http://www.langara.bc.ca/cs/photography/gallery/student/gallery%203/imagepages/Gallery301.htm

To get rid of the floor detail (which I too find distracting) use a piece of black velvet which should just about take care of any reflected light.

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Jed Goode , April 25, 2001; 04:57 A.M.

Shaddows

I don't know about anyone else, but I like the shaddows. Comments so far have been very negative about them, but I think that they balance the curve of the model very well and give spacial placement and depth to the image. The lighting is beautiful as is. My only comments would be that the model should be centred better, some of the dark area above her removed and beware of the border between floor and wall (when I turned the brightness up on my screen, this boundary became vissible and very distracting).

As for comments about the exhibitionism of nude self portraits, surely anyone who posts any image of any kind for others to view is exposing some aspect of themselves in an exhibitionistic manner. The subject should be inhibition on the part of the critics rather than exhibitionism on Amy's part.

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David Owens , May 21, 2001; 08:41 P.M.

Backbend nude

A great shot, I've tried this a couple of times with models but was unable to get good arch. Considering this was done with a self timer it's some piece of work.

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Emmanouil Skoufos , June 15, 2001; 11:32 A.M.

This is quite nice. IMHO the "spillage" of the light onto the floor and its reflection to the hands and feet, work to give a nice three-dimensionality to the picture, which would be lacking otherwise. The contrast, and granularity (reminds me of 400 Tri-X) on the body are much more obvious than without the bottom light. Also, the lit right foot gives balance to the subject, since the arms and face are more lit that the legs and lower torso. For example, I bet that if you crop everything down from the armpits or used digital methods to blacken the lower light out, the composition would be much more flat and uninteresting, since the focal point of the picture (lit right hip) is slightly overlit and thus flat.

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robert brown , August 26, 2001; 09:03 P.M.

Lovely and very original

Amy, it looks great just the way it is.There is such a thing as becoming to technical. Keep up the good work.

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Jasmine O'Brien , November 04, 2001; 08:19 P.M.

Aesthetics 4, Originality 7

I'm impressed, but I don't really like the photo.

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Lex Jenkins , May 30, 2002; 03:30 A.M.

Okey doke, here goes...

...you've been at this long enough now I know you need honest criticism more than flattery. And judging from your comments on various issues during the past couple of years I'm sure you're confident enough to handle it.

It's probably time to end the self-portrait phase. At least for now. (And I'm assuming this is another self-portrait; if not, forgive my ignorance.)

You're not seeing things that you would - or should - see if you worked more with other models as adventurously as you have with yourself.

A few examples:

The hot spot on the center thigh and knee;

The inconsistency of a crescent of light on the back of the right calf and a sliver of light on the left shin;

The shadow on the lower legs that creates an unflattering effect resembling stirrup pants;

Those are areas I'd consider mistakes. Other areas are arguable.

The overall pose is dynamic. I'm not sure whether any of the face should be visible, tho' the jawline contributes to the image by echoing the arch in reverse.

Things that work well:

The lighting on the breast and its shadow create a total symmetry that is rather arch-like, again echoing the overall form;

The lighting on the upper arm is perfect, and would be the target to aim for on the thigh from the center downward.

You've always been imaginative in your approach to the nude. Now it's time to take that next step forward and develop your lighting skills. I just don't think you can progress any further at this point using yourself as a model (again, assuming that was done in this image). You need to be able to visualize form and lighting from where the camera is. I'm not saying actors can't be directors, or singers be actors, or models be photographers. But at this stage I think it's best to choose one or the other and I'm pretty damned certain of your potential as a photographer. You can always return to using yourself as a subject later to reassess and explore things anew.

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Bruce Jones , December 22, 2002; 03:34 A.M.

to boldly go

I am amused by some of the comments. You asked for lighting suggestions. Oh well, I do love the photo as is. One of the things I like about the work of others is not just the images they make but in seeing how different people see things differently. If I would have done it, and I have done similar work with models, I would use more contrast even high key too. It depends on whether that day I want to throw shadows or highlight skin tone. Moods change. It has been a while since this posting, I wonder how you are doig working with light and if you are having the success you deserve in sales. Great work and courageous of you to put yourself out there for your art's sake.

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F.J. Sarmiento , February 13, 2003; 07:44 P.M.

well...

I've read many comments here suggesting you use models instead of yourself in your pictures and that you should stay behind your camera. Well, if you really want to be the subject, (and everyone here knows you're a great one) you could always just use the model for composing the image then, press the timer... place yourself as you did your model.... then tadaaaa! =)

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Alex B. , September 04, 2003; 01:10 P.M.

This whole folder is very original. The composition of all photos is just incredible. It's hard for many of us to achieve that while we behind camera, you managed to do that while being in front! If you could share your technic of self portraite with us-that would be great! Of course, very few of us would look as stunning in front of camera as you.

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