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Cinefoil, also known as simply black foil, is a great light shaper. If you haven't come across it before, it is like a thick kitchen foil painted black. You can bend it, shape it, tear it. However you bend it the shape will stay in place.

What I have done here is wrapped a tube of it around a basic strobe, creating a sort of snoot. What I really love about this effect though is that instead of getting a conventional circle of light the edges of the light are erratic and random. There is no equivalent in photoshop at all.

You can shape the tube to be roughly circular, oval, a long slit, a wide slit - all create different lighting effects. When composing the image you want to include sufficient amount of the shadow area so the effect is clear.

In this series I've positioned it essentially in-line with the camera, creating a sort of ring-light effect to the lighting, but something quite different in the shadows.

The first image has the light source moved in tighter to the subject for a head and shoulders type shot. Notice how it's creating a natural vignette.

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The ring-light type lighting demands a very strong pose, so I've asked Carla to adopt this very model-like, fashion pose and asked her to give me the "look".

The expression in the face turns this image from being a boring shot of someone standing neutrally to something much more assertive and empowered.

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As I said before, you have some control over the way the shadows break out, but when I set the light up and fiddled with the foil for a little I noticed it had a caricature heart shape. So for this final image I decided to go for a much softer pose.

This is almost like a 21st century pin-up style.


key points

Cinefoil goes right back to the days of early movies, as do so many of our lighting tricks, reading books by the old lighting experts can teach you a lot for use in modern photography.

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