Film photography can be looked at in a variety of different ways, one being that film photography and can be the actual principal photography of the film in which the crew actually sets, lights and shoots each and every scene of the storyline. Another way of looking at film photography is through the action of still photography, which is also really popular among all film sets, big and large. Usually these types of still photographs are used as behind the scenes pictures that are later used for marketing purposes, including social media, posters, and all different types of marketing to get the word out there about the film. It’s an important task to do these types of still photographs during the filming of a feature or a short film, not only for marketing purposes but also just so the directors and producers have pictures of the great experience the making of the film was for the whole crew.
But let’s first talk about the principal photography in film. When it really comes down to it the word photography means the ability to adjust light, and as everyone knows the famous phrase lights, camera, action, and it can easily inferred that the first of this order is lights. Lighting a scene properly can be a very meticulous and time consuming task no matter what type of scene you’re trying to shoot, and that’s mainly because a lot of the times film crews and directors are shooting in low light situations, and when there is a low light situation you want to make sure every light that you use seems realistic and not just a film crew light off in the distance or coming from some obscure angle.
This is a lot easier said than done, because to a certain extent you don’t want a scene or an actor’s face to be lit improperly, but you still want to make it look like there aren’t a ton of lights and diffusers on him or her. A lot of great directors of photography use certain tricks up their sleeve in order to achieve this realistic effect with lighting, but even those tricks are hard to come by, but some are really simple. Using objects that you would normally find in room to light a subject can be really useful and give a more realistic sense to the lights in a scene. The objects include lamps, candles, sunlight, street lights, moonlight, mirror reflections, phone lights, you name it, any type of light you see in your regular life can be used to light even the highest of budgeted film scenes.
Of course that’s rarely the case and you’ll always see some gigantic lights and C-stands all over a film set, and that’s perfectly normal and OK to do, especially if you know how to set everything up in the proper place with the right amount of subtlety, a scene can really look great.
Just be careful of over-lighting, because when you can see the reflection of a big light in someone’s eye on screen, you know that it’s fake, and that takes away from the realism of the film.