Photoshop Tip: Studio Lighting After-the-Fact

How to Use the Digital Darkroom to Simulate Studio Lighting

by Jim Zuckerman

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© Jim Zuckerman
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Itís impossible to carry studio lighting with me as I travel, and yet there are many portraits I take that could benefit from the creative application of directional spotlights and other types of lighting that enhance and dramatize a subject.

Photoshop has an excellent lighting effects dialog box that allows me to simulate studio lighting after-the-fact, and itís quite realistic. In many cases, it is indistinguishable from lighting that would be used in a studio with thousands of dollars of equipment.

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© Jim Zuckerman
All Rights Reserved
The pair of photos accompanying this article shows what applying a spotlight on the model can do. This looks like the narrow beam of light when a snoot or barn doors is placed over a strobe head. Notice how the background has been darkened and how all the attention is focused on the modelís face.

This young lady is a Javanese bride I photographed in Indonesia. The white flowers coming down from her headpiece are hand-woven live flowers.


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About Author / Instructor / Photographer, Jim Zuckerman
Photography Instructor: Jim ZuckermanFew people are able to spend most of their time pursuing their passion in life. I'm one of them, and I feel blessed to have had a love affair with photography since I began taking pictures.

In 1970, I decided to abort my intended career as a doctor in favor of photography and have never regretted it. Photography has enriched my life more than I can tell you. My career has taken me to over 60 countries, and I've seen and photographed wondrous things.

I specialize in wildlife and nature, international travel, and digital effects. In addition, I also shoot nudes, photo- and electron microscopy, children, and other subjects that stimulate my visual or emotional sensibilities.

For 25 years, I shot a medium format camera, specifically the Mamiya RZ 67, for its superior quality. When I would lecture, Iíd project the large, glass mounted transparencies, and it was really an incredible experience to see the brilliant color saturation and resolution of these slides. However, I went digital in 2004 because the technology finally equaled or surpassed medium format. I now shoot the Canon 1Ds Mark II digital camera with a variety of lenses.

I am the author of 12 books on photography. My work is sold in 30 countries around the world, and my images have appeared on scores of magazine and book covers, calendars, posters, national ads, trade ads, brochures, and corporate promotions.

For many years I've led photography tours to exotic places. These include Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Burma, Greece, The Czech Republic and Slovakia, Spain, Morocco, and Peru.