Exercise: Experiment with lighting

The aim of this design was to create a low key shot, in which the background was in shadow and the face was ‘lit’.

I took three photographs of the same subject:

  • one exposed correctly
  • one under-exposed by 3 stops
  • one over-exposed by 2 stops

I put the three photographs together in Photoshop in Layers:

  • darkest image on the top
  • correctly exposed image in the middle
  • brightest image at the bottom

Using a Layer Mask on the top (dark) layer, I applied the Brush tool (at 50% opacity) to ‘rub out’ the dark layer in the subject’s face. I finished by reducing the opacity of the top (dark) layer to 80%, to bring back more ‘ambient’ light from the middle layer.