TIP | Light Up My Life

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I’m still kind of new to the photojournalist world. Recently I’ve hit a great zone. Shooting good stuff, using my tripod (a lot) and making good use of my wireless mic. But I have had a few problems with interview lighting, the interviewees wearing glasses.

I get the light shining off the lens of their glasses. It is a distraction, I think. I use an umbrella and have tried moving the light around, real tough in a small room. If you have the trick, do tell, until then I’ll keep thinking. Lloyd

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I used to have the same problem until a production manager sat me down and solved the problem. The trick is to use as soft a light as possible and put it on the side of the interview subject. You want to have the light almost on a direct line with them and try to get it within 10 feet of them too. The setup is something like this

LIGHT INTERVIEW SUBJECT

REPORTER CAMERA

If you have a softbox, use that. If not, try a 250 with some scrim. It’s been my experience that smaller lights work better in these situations. Also, put your reporter on the side opposite the light so the subject is not looking into the light

Hope this helps. Kevin Cochran

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Kevin’s pretty close, but if there’s a reflection on the subject’s glasses, a softbox won’t help–it’ll just be a bigger white reflection. But the setup is good: looking from left to right or from right to left, place the camera, the reporter next to it, and the light on the outside…never camera, light, reporter or reporter, camera, light. (I wish I could draw here.)

Remember, angle of incidence=angle of reflection. In other words, change the height of the light to move the reflection relative to your lens or, if you have to, change the height of the lens. Moving left or right won’t help much and it will add a nasty “nose shadow” if you go too far. The size–wattage–of the light won’t matter here, because either you see the reflection or you don’t.

Finally, keep using your tripod. It makes much better pictures. Don’t feel like you’re relying on it too much; that’s impossible. Scott Orr

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One Response to “TIP | Light Up My Life”

  1. A lot of times, you can tip the ear-end of the glasses’ temples up a hair, and it will reduce, or elimnate the reflection. As long as you don’t go too far, it will not be noticable. If needed, you can wrap rubber band(s) around the temples to old them in place. It also never hurts to ask the subject if they would be comfortable removing the glasses. In a real tight area, this may be the only option for getting rid of the reflection, other than having the light come from the non-reporter side of the camera.