How to Find the Perfect Portrait Lighting Using a Marble

Illustration for article titled How to Find the Perfect Portrait Lighting Using a Marble

This is a really great portrait photography trick that requires no special equipment: use a black marble to see how the light hits on the eyes of the person you want to photograph:

Just hold a fist in front of you (like holding a telescope), tuck the marble just under your forefinger, and there you have it - the same lighting an eye would get.

And since you know you want the catchlights to be up at 1 to 2 o'clock, or up high at 12 o'clock, simply turn about until you see the catchlights you want.

The neat thing is that the curves and wrinkles of your hand show you the amount of contrast and backlight.

Genius and cheap. [Photo.net via Petapixel]

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DISCUSSION

saltbagel-old1
salt_bagel

I guess I'm a portraiture noob, but which one of the above pictures is better? It's nice that I can simulate an eye and some facial contours, but I still don't know how to make it look nice. Maybe for another article?

Also, the hand is in two different positions, so it's not really possible to compare the shadows from one side to the other.