light. The light produced by a spotlight is very much like direct sunlight on a clear day. The light rays
are nearly parallel and not diffused. This specular light imparts its quality of crisp sharpness on the
subject. The shadows cast by a spotlight are hard with sharply defined edges which add a feeling of
crispness. A spotlight is usually used to highlight or accentuate a feature of the subject or as a hair light
or background light.
(3) Floodlight. A floodlight produces a broad area of partially diffused, soft light, very much
like sunlight on an overcast day.
(a) A frosted globe is often used over the flash tube so the light produced is somewhat
initially diffused. The light is further diffused by the reflector which causes the light rays to cross and
interfere with each other. The rays projected from the front of the flash tube, however, are not as
diffused and have a crisper quality. The light thus produced by an electronic flash floodlight has a crisp
quality at the center and a softer quality toward the edge.
(b) When you want to use just the softer part of the light, allow only the outer part of the
light beam to fall on the subject. This technique is called feathering the light. If you want the entire
beam of light to be diffused and very soft, use a diffusing screen over the light source. There is also a
type of light unit known as capped light. This type of unit has an opaque metal cap placed in front of the
flash tube in order to block any specular light from reaching the subject. All light projected by a capped
unit is diffused.
(c) A floodlight is usually used as the key light in portraits, especially where a fairly soft
effect is desired. It is also used as a fill light because a fill light is always diffused.
Five Portrait Lights.
When you are called upon to light a subject for a portrait, the single most important principle you should
remember is that there should be only ONE dominant light source. All other lights should be
subordinate to it; to do otherwise will cause ugly and unnatural shadows. There are five basic lights
used for portraiture: main (also called key), fill (or fill-in), hair, background, and back. Most portrait
light setups call for the use of at least two of these lights; the main and fill. The other three lights are
used to enhance the subject's features but do not provide the main visual effect.