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Simulating candle light

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  #1  
Old 12-01-2011, 08:21 AM
mcdronkz mcdronkz is offline
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Simulating candle light

This shot was lit with a single strobe, but I figured it would be nicer to make it look like it was lit with a candle light.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/5493141/Scre...2015.13.25.png

However, it seems a bit harder than I imagined it to be. The shadows on the faces of the parents are not that hard to figure out, but the rest is another story...

This is the mood I want to go for:

http://www.digital-photography-schoo...hotography.jpg

How would you tackle this?
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Old 12-01-2011, 01:05 PM
Wolfman Wolfman is offline
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Re: Simulating candle light

Here's a mild version of the look you want..... darkening the edges and warming up the color to simulate candle light.... didn't go heavier like your candle sample..... some where in between.
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Old 12-01-2011, 01:16 PM
drode drode is offline
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Re: Simulating candle light

Wolfman is on the right track, I think. Candle light is just like any other light. It has a particular color and quality to the light.

The color will look no different than flash, sunlight or incandescent light if you choose a neutral white balance. However, a very warm white balance gives the impression of warm candle light. In addition, a single candle is often a small but close light source. That means that the light is relatively hard with a rapid fall off. An array of many candles close to the subject may give a softer light but will also have a rapid fall-off. A candelabrum across the room will be a fairly hard light but with more gradual falloff.

To give the *impression* of candlelight, you'll probably want a very warm color balance, rapid fall-off and fairly hard edges between light and shadow.
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Old 12-01-2011, 01:49 PM
mcdronkz mcdronkz is offline
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Re: Simulating candle light

Wolfman, thanks a lot! Just warming up the color adds greatly to the effect.

drode, you are absolutely right. Even though I know one or two things about light, relighting a photo in post production is a whole other story. I even photographed myself today with candle light as a reference image, but imitating the lighting in Photoshop didn't gave satisfactory results. I know what the shadows should look like, but I wasn't able to produce a realistic result.

I'll try something, will post the result!
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Old 12-01-2011, 01:59 PM
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Re: Simulating candle light

While you can simulate candlelight by just changing the colour balance the problem is that the image just appears to be warmer which could indicate a warmer light source (tungsten or candle) but without seeing the source of illumination it can just appear as wrong colour balance selected.

IMO to look effective a candle lit shot should include the source of light i.e. candles as in your example shot. In addition the candle should throw more directional light with deeper shadows
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Old 12-01-2011, 04:01 PM
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Re: Simulating candle light

What Tony says. In the absence of a conventional light source your eye looks for visual clues. If the candle is between the baby and the parents you would expect the foreground to be in shadow. If the candle is in the foreground you need to add shadow to the lower shirts of the parents. Colours that disappear in to shadow lose saturation - took me years to learn that Most of all be bold - high contrast rules! Heres a quick viz - the hilights and shads are wrong because I'm not going to make the masks required, but the principle applies. Also I'd add reflections to the spex etc but that's another story! Cute image though Mc.
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Old 12-01-2011, 05:11 PM
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Re: Simulating candle light

IMO this would take an awful lot of work to look realisitic - more than I have time to put in. Out of curiousity I added a candle between baby and parents, some reflection in glasses and some D&B to Repairmans image.

Apart from it looking dangerous to baby it is just all wrong and in this case would need the baby's arm darkening to an unacceptable level IMO.
I suppose you could place candle/s to the front and obscure a little of the baby.

You have a nice image already and I think you run the risk of spoiling it by going too far with editing
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Old 12-02-2011, 09:33 AM
mcdronkz mcdronkz is offline
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Re: Simulating candle light

Did some work:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/5493141/1.jpg

I can live with it. Suggestions on improving this image are of course more than welcome!

Thanks for the great help so far.
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Old 12-02-2011, 10:54 AM
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Re: Simulating candle light

Just my opinion but I find the large out of focus blobs in the background quite disturbing - the eye is drawn away from the main subject too much and I feel add nothing to a nice image.
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