Better Photo Tips – Studio Light Patterns

Photo Tip – Get Rid Of The Turkey Neck Waddle, Use Butterfly Lighting In Your Portrait Photography!

In previous articles, we’ve been discussing photo lighting patterns where we place the light source to the side of the subject – split lighting, loop lighting and Rembrandt lighting – and create shadows that go off to the side. Continuing with our series of portrait photography lighting patterns, today’s photo tip discusses “Butterfly Lighting”!

Keeping in mind that it’s shadows that create 3D depth and form in our photos, these lighting patterns are good ones to make our subjects come to life and “POP”.

But, the flip side of shadows showing form is that they sometimes show things we may not want shown!

For example, what if we are doing a portrait photograph of an elderly lady? I’m not talking about some moody character study; I’m talking about a nice photo of grandma.

Everyone over a certain age wants to look younger. As an old dude myself, I can tell you that my outward appearance has absolutely no relationship with the way I feel inside and the way I wish I looked!

In other words, I’m a 23 year old trapped in a 63 year old body.

But, what makes us look older?

It’s sagging skin and wrinkles that visually age us. The older we get the more – and deeper – wrinkles we get.

If we could tone down the wrinkles, we would visually appear much younger.

By the way… never COMPLETELY get rid of them, it looks fake and will make the portrait worse.

Since it is the shadows that show form, it is the shadows that visually create wrinkles. The darker the shadow, the deeper the wrinkle – and vice versa. So, to visually eliminate or tone down wrinkles, all we need to do is lighten the shadows that visually created them. Obviously the way to do that is by shining a light into the wrinkles.

To do that means we have to have the light coming from straight in front of the subject – at the camera angle.

A ring flash (a ring light is an on camera flash, but completely circles the lens) can work.

In fact, we most often see ring lights used in modeling shots where they need an absolutely flawless skin.

This is the ideal light for removing any sort of blemish or wrinkle, but it is a very flat light and really isn’t that good for portrait photography. It leaves an odd looking, unappealing catch light in the eyes too!

Slightly better is the on camera flash that is normally attached to the top of the camera. But we still have a flat light – and with both ring and regular on camera flashes we have problems with red eye.

So, we take the light off the camera and – staying at the camera’s position, we raise it up. It’s above our head and we will actually be shooting from under the light.

This creates the “Butterfly Lighting” pattern because it casts a small butterfly shaped shadow under the nose. It can be tiny and almost unnoticeable, or slightly larger – depending on how high you position the light. But, it is enough to add some depth and life to the photo.

The butterfly lighting pattern fills in and lightens a lot of the shadows in the wrinkles – but not so much that it looks phony – and it will create a shadowed area under the chin too! This visually gets rid of that turkey neck waddle we old people get!

True, this can be done in Photoshop – if you want to spend hour after hour retouching. Or you could spend 5 minutes setting up a butterfly lighting pattern. Your choice!

Grab your favorite model and a flashlight… get out there today and experiment with this photo tip. Learn how to create a butterfly lighting pattern in your portrait photography and your wrinkly older subjects (and acne ridden younger models) will thank you!

Add Depth of Meaning to Your Photos by Adding Your Story!

When your family views your photo album 50 years from now, what will it mean to them? How about 75-100 years from now? Does it really matter?

We are creating a living legacy with each word we speak, each choice we make, and every action we take. It all pours into our DNA just as powerfully as eye color, hair texture, and physique. Our life stories are etched deeply in our memories but memories fade all too quickly if they are not recorded.

We are one generation away from oblivion unless we harness the power of our words and actions and put stories to our photos and other memorabilia.

This evening I wanted to snap a photo of the red cliffs in Thermopolis, Wyoming. The setting sun has cast a burnished glow to the towering mountain giants overlooking the Big Horn River. Interspersed with the red giants, overlapping velvety green hills sparkled in the fading sunlight… their sagebrush faces almost seemed as if they were made of jade.

Birds fluttered from tree to tree, their songs filling the wide blue expanse of heaven, bringing it right down to earth. A sole bald eagle soared gracefully from one end of the river to the other, it’s piercing eyes no doubt hoping for a great fish dinner.

It’s early April in the canyon and the naked trees rustle with last year’s brown leaves clinging bravely to bare branches. Next to the Big Horn River is the Fountain of Youth RV Park, home to the largest outdoor hot mineral pools. 1.4 million gallons of hot mineral water pour into a series of three large pools, cooling off as the water passes from one pool to the next.

Just after sunset the rushing fountain surges with a ruddy glow, it’s shooting plumes pulsate like fireworks while the last of the day’s puffy clouds part to reveal a midnight blue sky already sparkling with starry diamonds. On the weekends country music wafts through the night as children swim and play ball while parents float side-by-side in the misty water, heads close together, swaying slightly with the waves.

The water is thick with mineral content and the rich sodium makes my body pleasantly buoyant, almost as if there is zero gravity in the world. As my own weight diminishes, so the cares of the world melt off my soul and I feel lighter inside and out. My water bed is both pillow and blanket as swirls of mist curl around my face, enveloping me in a cloudy embrace. The air is cool and crisp but I’m as snug and warm as a little girl tucked into a feather bed.

I feel my Father tucking me into His embrace, and He reminds me that He is present all the time, everywhere.

Nature is a healer. She knows just what we need. Sixty percent of our North American population relies on some type of drug to control their dis-ease. Anxiety is at an all-time high and stress forms the roots of most infirmity. No one has prescribed anything for me and I don’t take any medications… yet I almost died from an illness that made its entrance soon after my husband’s body was healed.

As I soak and soak and soak today I can feel my body shedding the weight of stress and releasing toxic memories, words, and experiences. Extra baggage that can actually cause us to become over-weight as our bodies deal with the stress hormone, cortisol, storing it in our belly fat and other fat storage areas. Gross, huh?

As I watch the bald eagle I am reminded of my home in Northwestern Montana where seven bald eagles lived down the road from our house. A river rushed noisily in our front yard as beavers busily constructed dams while mountain lions stalked the beavers for their next dinner. Muskrats and otters filled the water with joyful leaps and dives. A bull frog chorus became the back up musicians for a butterfly choreography performed by thousands of fluttering blue and lavender beauties.

I miss home… my heart was only just beginning to mend in that haven of beauty and rest. Not many people understand the peculiar stress of being the sole caretaker of a severely injured husband. Days of anxiety and sleepless nights turned into years of never knowing if the pain was going to win and he would take his own life. Always watching, always on call. Missing my best friend who could no longer take walks with me, who no longer seemed himself. On drugs normally reserved for terminal cancer patients, something changed in our relationship…

Insurance ran out but it wouldn’t have paid for a caretaker’s care, anyway… who cares for the caretaker? There’s a season for everything. Winter is passing and a chubby robin hopping among the dandelions is a welcome harbinger of Spring. And so, in my own soul, Spring is here. I just needed a place to soak, a place to just “be”… a place that would remind me of home.

Caretakers need care too. When a family endures a severe illness the whole family suffers, but the one who cares 24/7 and is the closest often suffers things no one else sees or hears. They weigh on the soul and drain energy from the body. If you’re a caretaker you understand the demands, the risks, and the fatigue.

Maybe one day doctors will treat the caretaker as diligently as the injured patient, but in the meantime Creation is teaching me the hidden value of soaking in beauty and truth. Nature is healing the inner wounds only a long-term caretaker of one who was severely injured will understand.

A geothermal pool, burnished reddish-orange cliffs, a soaring bald eagle, a chubby robin, and dandelions… strong healing powers and my “medicine”.

Have you tested the power of Creation in healing your own soul? I’d love to hear your story!

This is part of my own story… a continuation of other stories:

“The Bionic Man Returns”

“Resistance, Eat My Dust!”

“Digging For Treasure in the Ruins of Accidents, Abuse, and Addictions”

“When It Hurts So Bad You Want to Die”

“5-Year Old Surfs the Airwaves”

“Mind Over Moose”

“The Horse Gourmet”

When writing you own life story, you can jump around. You don’t need to be concerned about chronological order, unless you want to. Everything can always be changed. The important thing is just to get started.

Pick a photo or two…. try to remember what made you snap that photo. What were you feeling at the time? Why is that place, that person, that event special to you?

What will your family lose if this memory is forgotten?

Don’t try to be perfect. Fumbling for words is natural. If you’re better talking than writing, have someone use a video camera or an audio recorder and follow our step-by-step blueprint in the “All-in-One” Life Story Book Kit for incorporating multimedia in your life story.

Recently I took a photograph of my mother holding her 70-year doll, and I listened to her heart along with her words as she described what made this doll so special for her. The photo turned out well (my mom is very photogenic) but without her story, it’s just a pretty photo!

Stories add a deeper layer of meaning when combined with photos!

I know you’re very busy and while you care about preserving your family’s heritage, you may not have all the time you wish you had to pull those photos and stories together!

You’ve been on my mind so much lately, and I don’t want you to miss out on creating a living family legacy and writing your life story!

So I thought, why not make this into a game? A game that can be played a few minutes each day or an hour each week… you can play by yourself or make it a party!

Let me know and I’ll send the “Life Story Game” to you today!

How to Effectively Search Tattoo Photo Galleries

If you are thinking of getting yourself a tattoo, chances are you are looking around for a good design. Browsing through an album of tattoo photo galleries brings you to a world of fashion and style. Numerous designs can be seen in these galleries, rendered in different artistic styles, and bringing out the individual characteristics of the person who has the tattoo. Proprietors of tattoo parlors have these photos put in albums or displayed prominently in their walls. The visual stimulus helps the clients to think up designs for themselves, or else choose from the ones already made.

Most likely, in the tattoo photo galleries you will see sketches of tribal designs, astrological signs, koi fishes and other Japanese designs, dragons and other mythological creatures, religious themes, favorite animals, even scorpions, crabs, and spiders; as well as more modern images of cartoon characters, flowers, butterflies, and hearts. The tattoo artist might even draw a portrait for you on your skin. Some designs are comprised of text and letters that are meaningful only to the wearer. Others texts spell out well known phrases, or names of loved ones. There is a vast gallery of photos for tattoo designs. Sometimes, when a client is confronted with it, it becomes harder to choose. This is where a pre-knowledge of who you are, what you want, and what a tattoo artist can do will come in handy.

For those who think it is better to have a design in mind before going to the tattoo parlor to get permanently inked, then there are online tattoo photo galleries for you. There are more choices to be had online. Choose a few, print them out, and bring them with you to the shop. The artist will then discuss the designs with you. The one you like will be transferred into a stencil as the artist gets ready to give you your permanent tattoo.

Having a tattoo is not a light decision to make. You will be stuck with the design you have chosen, for life. Yes, there is a process for tattoo removal, but why bother going through it if you can choose your design wisely and be happy with it? This is how tattoo photo galleries can help you out. A good advice is to choose a design that is meaningful to you; one that will communicate who you are, not for the moment, but always.