We have this thread as well: http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=9597
and googling "portrait lighting" has garnered some great ideas for me.
three point lighting
Awesome idea, Knightly. I've been trying to learn about photography, including searching for online resources and tutors. I was afraid that posting anything that focused on still photography might be unwanted here. But I'm sure that there's lots of room for cross-pollination between lighting for still and for video photography, as well as just plain there being similarities between the two. Looks like that's your thinking.
So, let me try to make a contribution by adding just one of my favorites that I've found. This guy's awesome and a lot of fun.
I basically use the second method the guy in richy's video talks about. I do a lot of nature and wildlife shots, so I pretty much never have the chance to set up any sort of lighting and have to judge it based on how it looks in the viewer. example
Amusingly I've never heard of a light meter until now, but I guess that's what I get for being largely self taught. :v
Hm, I'm not sure if this guy really gets what a light meter is, or that there are both incident and spot meters.
I find light meters great for overall exposure. It means I can light without having the camera up, I can get a feel for where the light levels are going to sit, and I can keep consistency between shots and scenes. I know those who don't however, and that works for them.
He's somewhat incorrect though. With everything set at f/16, he does actually get a correct exposure on her, it just looks 'dull' because he's only got one light. Not to mention her pose doesn't help.
When he dials everything up she is around a stop over-exposed. Here's where he seems to be confused about what a meter does. It is not a creative tool, it is a refernece tool. If you want her to be a stop under or over, then you can but the light meter can help you with your lighting ratios etc.
Plus, had he tested the 'stock' (or the camera) he would've known where it clipped, and with a light meter would be able to meter the light on her face, her jewellwey, hair etc. to ensure it didn't clip. Her hair falls into blackness in the first shot because it's positioned away from the light.
I'd still set the exposure for the light as the skin is the more important target... the light could be metered on the exact opposite side of the point of incidence.
PHYSICS BREAKDOWN!!! Light (a series of photons) strikes a surface at an angle, the angle it leaves matches the angle it impacts the surface (angle of incidence). The surface affects the light after they make contact.
Since the guy in the vid is measuring the leading side of this transaction, he's getting the full weight of the light. The jewelery is reflective, which means it transmits more of the light after the transaction, so the parts of the image where the jewelery are will actually expose correctly at f16. She will actually be slightly underexposed as her skin is less reflective than the bling.
To get a more accurate measure, shielding the meter from the light itself and pointing it toward her from the direction of the camera would get you a reading after the transaction at more realistic values. A series of readings would get a sample that you could then make informed decisions with based on the differing reflectivity of the components of the subject being captured in the image.
The light meter is specifically set to expose an 18% gray card correctly from light you're pointing it at -- at the distance where it's being metered (remember our inverse square laws?). 18% is not an arbitrary value, it's the reflected luminance of most caucasian skin. Her skin being just slightly darker will expose very slightly below that.
Cool jacket though
This is how I shoot, but in digital, I tend to look at 5 zones: dark, mid, light -- and the commas between them. I use them to target my 3-way color correctors later in the process.
I agree with you guys that the photo/exposure he calls "dull" isn't so dull, depending upon your goal. So you guys think that if he was shooting with a three or a four point set-up, that "dull" exposure could be good? I was thinking that too.
But, I think the premise of this particular demonstration is that he's using one light and will be using only one light. I think his decision making is based upon that...in this demonstration.
Ah-hah! Now would be a good time to ask you pro-light meter guys what light meter you use and recommend?
Incident meters collect light at the camera and measure overall exposure at the end of the physics transaction. Spot meters collect light at the moment of transaction (or close to it) and allow you to get detailed information about light values on different points of the subject. Key side v. Fill side measured separately to give a lighting ratio that is then repeatable from setup to setup for instance.