Do you light differently when shooting for B/W images?

Dear friends, I’ve been lazy… 

Well, not really. I’ve been crazy busy which is the reason I haven’t gotten around to update my blog in quite some time. I thought I’d do a post about lighting today, and how I light my images if I’m shooting for BW’s.

I know most photographers don’t think too much about if their shooting for an color image or a black and white image, which in my opinion is quite sad, since I believe that the lighting has a huge impact on how your black and white images turn out! I tend to increase the natural contrast of my images when shooting for BW. I do this by choosing a small but soft light source putting it fairly close to my subjects. In this shoot I used a Profoto 1×1,3′ softbox set above the model,  at approx 1m in front of the extremely athletic model, named Alex. The images included in this post have not yet visited Photoshop, and are all a pure result of the light only.

I know a lot of fitness and BB images are shot with harder light sources(spot etc), but I like my shadows to be a bit softer, and as long as the contrast is high, muscle definition is well preserved as you clearly see in the shoots below. Another thing I sometimes do, is to make tiny holes in the velcro of the outer diffuser. This lets some light pass out and hit my subject as harder light beams/spots. With some practice you can get a quite interesting light this way. In the picture below you should be able to see maybe four of these “spots”… do you??

In this first shot you see the main light from above.

Alex ©Jon Rune Trengereid

In the three next ones I’ve added a rim light from the models right side, set to about 1/3 of a stop less than the main light.

Alex ©Jon Rune Trengereid

Alex ©Jon Rune Trengereid


Alex ©Jon Rune Trengereid

For these shots I had my 1Dx with my EF 50mm f/1.2L set to f/6,3 @ 1/200.

My main light was a Profoto Pro-8a with a Profoto 1×1,3′ Softbox. The rimligt was a Profoto D1 500ws with a Profoto 1×4′ striplight.

I hope you enjoyed this post and that you put some extra thought into the lighting the next time your aiming for an black and white image with impact. As always feel free to ask any questions you must have!






L’Oreal Academy shoot, how it was lit…

A few posts back I posted some behind the scenes photos from a shoot we did at the L’Oreal Academy, in Oslo. Here are two of the final images and some short info on how everything was lit.

The model was styled in the image of Birgitte Bardot, which was one of last years inspirations to the L’Oreal Collection. Below are two of the final images. Birgitte was a strong and independent woman, something we wanted to shine through in our images.

 Jon Rune Trengereid

Jon Rune Trengereid

The models view looked like this. Have you ever tried the Profoto XL umbrella? 

Jon rune Trengereid

We had some concerns about how the light spread would be on this location; low ceiling and shiny back wall. I couldn’t do anything about the ceiling, but decided to use the back wall to my advantage. The reflective surface gave me a free “spot” on the back wall. The vignetting is all natural and thanks to the large Profoto XL umbrella.

The main light was the Profoto white beautydish. I chose this rather than the silver one because of the 65° light spread compared to the 26° of the silver one. I knew I had to put the light fairly close to our model and needed as much spread as possible(without lighting up the whole room). The beautydish had an energy output of f/4,5 and lit up the face and upper body. The Profoto XL umbrella worked as a fill light and was set to f/4, just half a stop under the the main light, softening out shadows and evening out the light.

From behind the model, two Profoto 1×1,3′ softboxes creates an even and soft rimlight. These strobes were set to f/6,3. 1/3 of a stop brighter than the exposure. The right-hand side softbox was pointed slightly upwards, and lef-thand side slightly downwards. 

All light sources used on this shoot was powered by Profoto D1 500ws Air‘s.

Jon Rune Trengereid LightingSetup

Thanks for reading.



Test shoot with Undis from EB Models

A few weeks back I did a test shoot with the lovely Undis from EB Models. I wanted these fashion images to easily be considered as a set of portraits, and decided to go with a large light source to get smooth and soft shadows. The lighting was real simple and done with a Profoto 5′ Octa mounted with a softgrid as the main light; powered by a Profoto Pro-8a.  Here’s the final result and some info on how we sat up the light to get this look.

Undis by Jon Rune Trengereid

Undis by Jon Rune Trengereid

Undis by Jon Rune Trengereid


I used a Canon 1Dx and a EF 85mm f1.2L II set to 1/200 sec at f/2,8, ISO 100. As always I overexposed the image with 1/3 of a stop to make sure I get all the information the sensor can hold. More about that in another blogpost.

I sat up the Profoto head with the 5′ Octa and the softgrid on the right side of the model who was placed about 3 feet from the backdrop. As you probably know the larger the light source the softer the light. There is one other thing that also defines the light quality, contrast. The closer you set the light to your model, the higher the contrast. So if you want soft shadows(where light gradually turns to shadows) use a large(relative) light source, and if you want high contrast(how deep the shadow go compared to the lights parts of your image) put the light source close to your subject. 

The main light was set high with the help of a Avenger A4050CS stand, about 20″ above the models head and approx 3′ in front of her. The direction of the light was set so that the center of the octa points just below her chest. This means that her head is lit by a really feathered light to create soft shadows but with a fairly high contrast, as you can see in her dark eyes. Also there is hardly any spill over to the background due to the direction of the light and the soft grid attached. 

When I sat up the light I initially wanted a rim light on the models left side, but I soon realized that this was not in coherence with the look I was after and dialed the rimlight down 2 stops opening up the deep shadows but without leaving any “visible trace” of a second light source.  Dialing down 2 stops from 2.8 is not something all strobes can do, but it was not a problem for my Profoto D1 250w. I sat up a large black portable wall to flag the light from the camera.Undis lighting setup by Jon Rune Trengereid


Thanks for reading and feel free to ask me any questions you may have.





Looking for color control? (A simple introduction to monitor calibration)

Color management, easily explained, is control over RGB values in different environments.

Counter the common perception, an RGB value of R:210 G:0 B:0 as an example, is not a specific color, but an RGB percentage of the color space you’ve chosen to work in.Color management usually starts with a calibrated monitor, the irony of this is that by then, you are often halfway through the production process.Color management is more than just to control color, it is to exploit the potential of your equipment.

In order to certify up to the industry standard it is necessary to have a monitor calibrator, such as the X-Rite i1Publish Pro 2, i1Display Pro, ColorMunki Photo or the new ColorMunki Smile.

Ok, so what does it mean that any given RGB value isn’t a specific color?

Well, if you have a look at the below picture you see four red squares. Depending on your monitor you should be able to see that these red squares are of slightly different reds, but they all have the same RGB values, R:210 G:0 B:0. If you don’t see too much of a difference try looking at your monitor from different angles.

Screen Shot 2013 01 11 at 21 10 52

So, the colors you see on you monitor depends on to factors; the color space you’re editing your images in and the color space of your monitor.

The color space of which you edit you images in you get to set yourself, the color space of your monitor however, is fixed. Most monitors such as an iMac, Laptops and cheap monitors can only display the sRGB color space or slightly more, and this is exactly why it’s important to invest in a high quality monitor such as an Eizo CG series or a NEC Reference which can display almost the full Adobe RGB color space.


When calibrating your monitor, what are you actually doing?

Screen Shot 2013 01 11 at 22 53 06

Your monitor is not accurate. It receives RGB values from you computer and displays them. If you are sending an RGB value of, lets say R:210 G:0 B:0 you know its red but how red it is depends on the working color space and how accurate your monitor is. So, if your sending an RGB value of R:210 G:0 B:0 but your monitor is showing this as R:200 G:0 B:0 you’re seeing your images with other colors than what actually exists.

When calibrating your monitor using a hardware calibrator such as the X-Rite ones mentioned in the into of this article, you’re actually measuring your monitors ability to display colors accurately, by displaying patches of colors that the calibrator records and then compares to the actual RGB values sent to the monitor. Based on this info the calibrators software creates an ICC profile which in the future will compensate for the monitors inability to show correct colors. Extremely easy explained, if your monitor shows the Red value of 210 as 200, then the ICC profile will “send” the red as 220, which then will equal to 210.


What are you calibrating for?

Before you start the calibration process ask yourself; Where do I want to display my images?? Depending on whether you want your images to shine on the web or on a printed media, there are guidelines to take into account. Before we go on, please let me say; there is no way you can make sure your images will look exactly the same on your own monitor and all monitors out there. To many factors plays a part, factors you can’t control. All you can do is make sure your monitors are accurate compared to the files your computer displays.

The settings Im about to give you, are noting more than a recommendation from where you can start from.

If you have a calibrated monitor, you should always take advantages of the dedicated software for that specific monitor. Ie. ColorNavigator for Eizo.

Luminance = 80 – 120 cd/m^2 (This setting defines the lightness of your monitor, and I would recommend you start with setting it to 120cd/m2)

Whitepoint = D65/6500 kelvin. (This is the color tint of white)

Gamma = 2.2 (This defines how dark grades over to light)

These settings will give you a good starting point for your first print. If your work is only displayed on the web then maybe you should consider upping your luminance to 140, or even 160cd/m2. Personally I keep it at 120.

Some calibrator softwares such as the i1Profiler from X-Rite gives you the ability to also specify the contrast ratio of your monitor. Even though most modern monitors can display a contrast ratio of as high as 800:1 and even higher, this is no good if your calibrating your  monitor for print work. A good printer such as the Canon Pixma Pro-1 or the Canon IPF8400 in combination with a high quality glossy paper can only produce a print with a contrast of as high as maybe 350:1. Based on this my recommendation is that you set your contrast to somewhere around 300:1 when calibrating for print work.

And by the way, if your looking for high-end print paper, take a look at my previous post here.

Even though you cant make sure all your prints look perfect in any given light source, or on all the millions of millions of monitors out there, you can make sure that what you see on your monitor is what actually exists in your computer file/image. If you do not already own a calibrator I would suggest you get one. Monitor calibration should be done at least every 200 hours of use/monitor up time. All X-Rite softwares will let you set a reminder for when its time for a recalibration.

Which calibrator is right for you??

If you don’t care about options and rules and technical stuff, then you should get the ColorMunki Smile. This nice little unit will do it all for you, no questions asked.

If you want options, being able to control luminance, whitepoint and contrast then you should get the i1Display Pro. This little piece of hardware is probably the best value for money available when it comes to monitor calibration. It also calibrates your projector if you own one and uses the i1Profiles, the same software as the  i1Publish Pro 2the most advanced solution X-Rite offers. You should get this if in addition to calibrating your monitor you would also like to be able to create custom paper profiles for print. This badboy (it’s really nice actially) calibrates all there is to calibrate. A more advanced review on this hardware to come at a later time.

Enjoy your accurate colors and feel free to ask me questions if you should have any.


Disclaimer: ISO 3664; Someone is bound to ask me why I do not recommend to calibrate to the iso 3664 standard. This is for printshops and advanced commercial printing. And does not fit that of the way any amateur and 99.9% of professional photographers display their images.

Attend my webinar with X-Rite, PART 2!

Hi all.

My 2’nd part of a  3 part webinar with X-rite will launch this coming Friday, October 14th.

In this part we will cover workflow in lightroom and more. Its free and if you would like to sign up then click the x-rite logo below for more info on when and where + more detailed information on what we will cover.

Hope to see you there!