How do we light a bald subject?

This week in Zeferino Professional Lighting we want to give you hand; if you’re about to light a bald subject there are a few key issues you’ll want to take into consideration.Certain exposure problems tend to come up when lighting people with little to no hair. Since skin is so reflective, their foreheads, temples, and the tops of their heads will often be overexposed if you light them the way you would someone with a lot of hair. Below you’ll find a few valuable techniques that will help you solve these common lighting problems.

Check your exposure

Use zebra or false color to check your exposure, because you may not be able to tell with your naked eye that your subject’s head is overexposed.

Getting rid of blown out highlights

Again, skin is very reflective. And without hair to absorb the light you’ll need to find another way to neutralize the hot spots on your subject’s head. Anti-glare or de-shine powder will do the trick, but sometimes you’ll have to use a little finesse when explaining to certain clients that “it’s not makeup.” If they’re feeling away about it, just explain that you’re using it to eliminate highlights, apply it on yourself, and make sure to use disposable brushes or pads.

vlcsnap-2013-03-08-15h18m00s7Reduce or remove hair lights

Again, glare becomes a big issue when using a kicker/rim/hair light. You may need to reduce the intensity or remove the light altogether. Using a background light as an alternative, will work just as well to separate your subject from the background.

Pay attention to backgrounds

If you do use a background light in place of a hair light, you’ll have to figure out what kind of background you should use. Why can’t you use any ol’ background? Because certain skin tones don’t work well with different background and light colors. So, make sure that whatever you choose provides enough contrast between your subject and the background.

Key light placement

Another thing you might want to adjust is the height of your key light because; If it’s placed above your subject’s head it could really cause a not-so-flattering glare on their noggin. Lowering the key light should do the trick. But you might have to experiment with height a little to get it just right.


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