Before-and-After Photo Series Shows How Dramatically Lighting Affects Portraits


It’s not news that lighting makes or breaks an image, particularly portraits. But in Perception Is Reality by photographer Sebastian Petrovski, we get a better first-hand look at just how influential lighting can be when trying to accurately and most pleasingly capture the face and features of individuals.

As you could expect, the results are – almost quite literally – night and day.

The natural light photos capture the subject in a fairly soft light. In doing so, features are deemphasized while the lips, nose and eyes are what you first see in the subjects face.

In the darker photos, the emphasis is put on the shadows, which unforgivingly play with the subjects facial features, leaving a strange, topographical map of strong chiaroscuro.

However, that’s not to say that one is always better than the other. At times, the dark and eery contrast given by the more harsh light creates a more cinematic look; something that doesn’t work for all subjects, but occasionally accentuates a few of their facial features.

Take a look for yourself and compare them, below.









You can check out more of Petrovski’s work over on Behance.

(via Gizmodo)

Image credits: Photographs by Sebastian Petrovski

  • Juan Gonzalez

    Next article will be on how someone invented a wheel last week and how round it is.

  • pgb0517

    But we aren’t supposed to use lights, or makeup, or try in any way to make people look good in a portrait, riiiight?

  • Mezame

    PetaPixel’s for everyone :) I thought this was a good comparison for people who may want to learn more about lighting and the end results.

  • Roberto Inetti

    Yup, this is probably the stupidest article ever.

  • Catt

    “eery” = eerie. Geez, journalism.

  • Gannon Burgett

    The two are interchangeable.

  • Gannon Burgett

    What? Are you telling me you enjoyed a simple, helpful article, despite it being a bit basic? Blasphemy! ;)

  • james

    Let me sum it up: light is all we can see, so by chaning it, changes what we see.

  • 11

    i agree, but the visualization of the difference is worth looking at it.

  • Riccardo Fissore

    quite ridiculous article

  • bookishboy

    Left side: Clearasil casting photos to show how their product smooths and improves complexion.

    Right side: Casting photos for Orange Is The New Black auditions.

  • Kmaso52

    It looks like their just horibully under exposed.

  • Jon Sparrow

    lmfao. i hate the intro to orange is the new black.

  • DEFC

    Wow.. so many assholes on this site.. lol.. classic internet…
    I dont see the problem with the article, yes, is something that a lot of us may know or are aware already, but there is a lot of people just starting to get into the world of photography, or just curious that read this site and may find this article interesting.

    Just because we already know how light affects a photo it doesnt make this article stupid or ridiculous..

  • Michael Zinfandel Rork

    I agree. I feel I am fairly well versed in lighting and how it affects the subjects face depending on how it’s used (I shoot beauty portraits for a living), but I still found this fascinating to see the direct comparisons.

  • Justin Kroger

    I’m sorry… did a 5-year-old write this?