Portrait photographer Jim Schmelzer is a advocate for continuous lighting in photography. Continuous lighting gives photographers the ability to see exactly how their final image will appear. This allows photographers to adjust camera settings, light power, and modifier placement instantly.

Westcott’s Spiderlite TD6 is the most powerful and compact continuous lighting system available today. This durable unit offers up to 1200 effective watts of power per light, in both tungsten or daylight-balanced output. Shooting at the PDN PhotoPlus Expo in New York City last year, Jim used a three light TD6 setup to explain light gradation.

Modified by a large rectangular softbox, Jim modifies this key light by placing a diffusion cloth on the lower half of the softbox. He then doubles the bottom quarter of this diffusion cloth. This creates a light gradation on his model, pulling viewers eyes toward her face as the light dramatically falls off down her shoulders and torso.

Jim utilizes two more Spiderlite TD6s modified by stripbanks and grids to act as rim and hair lights. He then brings in a white Illuminator Reflector to fill in shadows hitting the left and under side of her face.

Light Gradation Tip: Jim Schmelzer

Lighting Gear in Action:

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