Patrick Demarchelier lighting

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by msbarnes, Nov 17, 2012.

  1. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

    Jul 23, 2011
    Multi Format

    How does he do his lighting? I have no experience with lights so i can't really decipher these things. I'm interested into getting into strobes and i love his lighting so I figured that striving for something similar would help (well but with lower end stuff ofcourse). Any suggestions, ideas, guesses? It looks very simple and soft.
  2. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

    Oct 17, 2005
    8x10 Format
    depends on which image you are seeing. Some are the ambient light of the scene, may be with a reflector. Other's are punched with light his lighting crew delivered, whether strobe or hot light. When he does add his own lights, it is usually very near the camera so the cast shadow isn't very visible to the lens. The bottom line is to get the "Simple" takes a lot of care and hard work. You can do the same with the modern LED light banks, too.
  3. ParkerSmithPhoto

    ParkerSmithPhoto Subscriber

    Jan 16, 2010
    Atlanta, GA
    Medium Format
    Most of those look like axis light that is very expertly balanced with the ambient, either the lights on the street or a cafe, or the overcast sky.

    Axis light can be very beautiful if used correctly. In fact, most of the time you shouldn't really notice it, such as in the first image outdoors with the feather hat. If your ambient light is f8, and you set the strobe to give you one to two stops less light, you get a very subtle fill and sparkle (especially with dark fabrics) that is very hard to spot. It's much like toning, it can be so subtle that without a comparison print, you wouldn't be able to tell. In the case of that image, it will also serve to keep the eyes from going "raccoon." Zoom in and look at the very soft shadow under the chin; open shade would not give you that look.

    A great thing to do is find some overcast light, shoot one without flash, then add in balanced, one stop under and two stops under. So if your ambient is f11, then set the flash to give you f11, f8 and f5.6. Compare these frames. You'll find balanced flash is generally kind of ugly, one stop under is getting nice, but still noticeable, and two stops under will give you just a subtle lift and a touch of sparkle in the eyes. It's best if the flash is in fact right above the lens rather than to the side.

    Same thing indoors. You need an ambient exposure where you really feel the lamps, such as in the fourth image; look at the hair and how it is a touch over exposed; that's what I mean by feeling it. Say that is 1/2 second at f5.6, your flash can be at f4 and you should be right on.

    If you learn how to use professional lighting, you will be better than most photographers by a mile.

    (By the way, this has been my 400th post!)
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 17, 2012