Perfectly Even Copy Lighting

March 11, 2004

One of the issues that has been challenging to solve using traditional photographic techniques has been the inherent fall-off towards the corners of the frame, particularly while using large format wide angle lenses. With these types of lenses, expensive center spot graduated neutral density filters are available with a price tag that can add 20% to 30% to the purchase price of the lens. An alternative was to try and even out the fall-off while creating the print using burning and dodging in the darkroom.
 

Another similar situation where we experience fall-off and/or uneven density is while copying flat art. A traditional copy setup using two lights placed at 45 degrees can produce uneven lighting even when care is taken to precisely aim the lights. In a worse case situation, the fall-off may be uneven and difficult to correct while printing. If a transparency or slide is required, the photographer is unable to use the burning and dodging techniques available in the darkroom.
 

With the power of Photoshop, we can capture a “map” of the uneven lighting or illumination from the lens and correct our images precisely. It does not matter whether it is your lighting that is causing the uneven density or if it is the lens or a combination of both. Let’s use a copy setup as an example and review the changes to the technique when using a large format wide angle lens at the end of the tutorial.

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