This is an effect in lighting that is of a most pleasing nature. There are few subjects, indeed, of which it can be made, first, for the reason that it requires a good profile; and, second, the face should be full and round to secure the best gradations. This scarcity of subjects is one of the reasons why it is so attractive, as it is made so seldom that it never gets old, and the good people all like a change. And not only do the patrons like to see "something different," but the operator has the opportunity to get out of the old "rut" and keep up interest in his work by making a lighting that does not look like all of the others.
The half shadow effect in lighting belongs to that class of effects known as "fancy lightings," and these fancy effects are what might be called novelties in photography, and afford the photographic patrons the opportunity to cultivate and gratify their desire to have something that their friends haven't. The operator should be in position to satisfy this desire on the part of his subjects. It will then not be said of him that he is not progressive, but he will be looked upon as being a man of progress, and always up with the times.
We have designated it the Sarony lighting for the reason that we knew of no better name for it, and feel certain it will not suffer for having this name applied to it.
The easiest way to secure this effect that we have found is to place the subject directly underneath the center of the skylight, and the background three feet or more in the rear. The opaque curtains on the skylight should all be drawn down to within five feet of the side light, and those on the side light should all be drawn up to within two feet of the top light.
The camera should be about nine feet from the side light, and the subject about the same distance. Turn the subject's body slightly away from the light, and the face still farther away until a full profile is seen from the camera. Here, again, the opaque head screen comes into play. It should be used over the head, to divide the light from the shadow, about the temple, leaving the whole of the front of the face, including the nose, in a soft delicate shadow. The face must be turned away from the light far enough to take the light off the nose, and if the distance given for the camera from the side light is not enough to secure this effect, it will be necessary to change it. We only attempt to give a few suggestions and directions to assist in making the different effects, and do not expect to be so explicit as to teach all there is in lighting and posing.
The highest light in this effect will show on the neck, and will extend across the cheek to the cheek bone, where it will begin to blend off into the shadow on the front of the face. After the lighting has been made, it may be that the ear on the light side of the face will cast a sharp shadow down the cheek. If such is the case and the other shadows appear to be of a harsh nature, it will be necessary to cover the side and top light with the diffusing curtains, so as to blend these shadows, and break up the hard lines which they may cause.
As to the shade or tone of the background, experience teaches us that a light ground, in fact, one almost white will give better satisfaction than any other, as it will throw the profile into good relief, and the shadow on the front of the face seems to have better definition.
White draperies appear especially pleasing in this effect, as there is enough back light used to bring out the soft shadows on the front of the figure. But it may be that the shoulder next to the side light will be rather highly illuminated in comparison with the shadow shoulder. If it is found this is so, it should be screened locally. That is, the shoulder should have the light softened, but no other part of the drapery should be affected. One of the handiest little screens for this purpose that we have used, can be made of an ordinary palm leaf fan, the handle of which can be stuck in the end of a cane. Have the cane about six feet long. This will enable the operator to stand several feet from the subject and shield any part of the drapery locally and at the same time make the exposure.
This effect should be made in almost all cases in full profile, and the subject should have full round cheeks as the light breaks up and becomes "spotted" if the subject has hollow cheeks or high cheek bones.
If desired, the ordinary white screen may be used for dividing the light at the temple, but there should be a dark cloth thrown over it, so as to make its effect more pronounced.