Monthly Archives: January 2013


Every so often I do a self portrait ( I’d rather experiment on myself than on a paying customer )  to try and play with lighting and learn some new things. Today I decided to try and learn an old thing. I wanted to see how closely I could mimic the lighting of one of my favourite ever portraits.

It’s the iconic, and simple portrait of Max Von Sydow used to publicise Ingmar Bergman’s, 1957 film  The Seventh Seal.

I enjoy the process of taking lighting apart in other people’s work, and seeing where it takes me. Even with just one light, the process can be quite lengthy, I ran out of time to get this perfect but I think I came fairly close.

There are some caveats though:

a/ I don’t look like Max Von Sydow, no matter how hard I try! This kind of lighting really accentuates angular, symmetrical faces. My face is not one of those. That being said this kind of lighting can imbue undramatic faces such as mine with a modicum of dramatic impact. His extremely fair hair really helps with the texture and shape of the image as well.

My beard does not help.

b/  I think that my lighting, now that I can directly compare the two should have been even more directly above my head. There is something odd about the positioning of the lighting in the original which makes it seem as though much more of his face should be lit on the “dark side”. I suspect it was a bit more central,  higher up, angled down and I suspect the key element that’s missing from my lighting is a gobo to dramatically cut off the light on the other side of the face.

I concentrated on getting the shadows right by positioning the lighting to the side. I think I’d have been better served by using the lighting to create the highlight and a gobo ( essentially a black card ) to create the shadows.

It’s noted now as a potential trick up my sleeve should I find a Scandinavian with an angular, perfectly symmetrical face. 🙂

Lighting diagram below.


My page:


Not a spectacular shot from me today, but a relevant one. Getting back into the swing of things with the business, of which Facebook is an important part according to almost everyone.

Trouble is the Instagram debacle just before Christmas shone a bright light into a deep dark hole in Facebook’s ToS.

For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.

So, while you share your work on Facebook it is essentially Facebook’s to do as it will. And if you change your mind about that, you still may not be able to do anything about it if anyone has shared your work.

This may not matter if you don’t want to make a living out of it, but it really matters to me. And really, it should matter to you too. If they own the rights to your work there is absolutely no telling where it will end up.

It’s an extreme thought, but would you want pictures of your children or yourself appearing in any kind of marketing material, let alone an organisation you may despise? It is sub-licensable after all. Which means FB can sell it on as if it were an image library.

I know of one person a couple of years ago, who actually had marketing material fall through his letterbox with pictures of his own kids on it, because someone he knew had shared his photos on FB. The marketing company apologised but the ToS essentially covers it.

From a professional point of view, the notion that my clients’ images could be used for something without their or my permission, however remote that possibility, is terrifying. It would surely leave me open to legal action.

Just my luck, I posted a shoot on FB days before the debacle. It got shared by family and friends instantly. No matter what I do, the chances of reversing that situation are nil now. I admit the chances of FB using these shots are also nearly nil, but why put that clause in there in the first place?

So. I’m thinking of another way to do things. Certainly a shift to Google Plus, possibly ditching FB altogether. It’s certainly made me think hard.

/end rant