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Playboy Lighting?

Jake Anderson , Jul 28, 2010; 11:53 p.m.

What is Playboy's lighting techniques? I've seen behind the scenes and from other accounts that its a few back lights with 10 degree grids on the body/hair, then a front with a large softbox or ringflash. Then gels, like CTO gels. Does the softbox face have CTO gels on it?


How does he do his lighting?


Gary Peck , Jul 29, 2010; 12:52 a.m.

Well, it appears you want a short cut to learning your craft, I don't think there is enough site here to explain each of the different looks and years of experience and technique displayed on www.fyhglamphoto.com
The trick is to learn to "read the light" by dissecting each image of interest and determining the type of source - the position of the source - and the power of the source relative to the others. By reading each image you will soon have a good idea of what technique was used during the shoot.
Take a step back and think about what your original question entails in the form of an answer.
You probably don't realize the photographers are first and foremost 'problem solvers' and I suggest you become a little more proactive, as there are few easy answers or shortcuts.

Tom Weis , Jul 29, 2010; 07:08 a.m.

His lighting isn't complicated. There's a lot of rim or back light in many cases with a broader, softer light in front. He may or may not be using gels since it's so easy to change color temperature in the camera or in a RAW converter now.
You should also learn a lot about retouching if you haven't already. It's as important as capturing the image these days. Playboy has its own requirements for retouchers.
As a side note, I like his photos, but not his website... worst web design I've seen in awhile.

Jake Anderson , Jul 29, 2010; 07:57 a.m.

Well, the average image I can see has 6-7 lights to it. Some background rims, hair lights to it. A light for the background. The front is something very soft, perhaps a softbox or umbrella. But does he pop the face with a grid or a zoom spot/fresnel lens? That's what I'm trying to figure out, since its so soft.

Gary Peck , Jul 29, 2010; 01:45 p.m.

Your on your way to reverse engineering the look's involved - yet I feel your looking to a template solution. Each situation is the result of 'solving problems' associated with the model and the environment. Standard front light and rim lights aside - simply grab your lights - set them up and learn your craft.
You'll soon discover that it's not rocket science - and you must learn for yourself how to create these effects.

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