English speakers call it snoot . It is a technique that consists of lighting only a part of the photo , usually the center, leaving the rest in partial or complete darkness. Hence, we speak of chiaroscuro , a resource widely used in painting movements such as Tenebrismo . The point is that this same effect can be achieved in photography in several different ways.
Some professional photographers use special bulbs (called spot ), which emit light in only one direction as a flashlight. Others prefer tube-shaped accessories for the flash . In this first installment, and assuming that you have a flash device other than the camera, we propose the most economical option: make yourself a cylinder with a little adhesive tape and a piece of polystyrene paper (better known as " Foam paper ").
This paper is made with a material derived from those sparkling corks that are used for packaging. You can find it in a stationery store, since it is a common paper for crafts in schools . Some laptops even come with a sheet of foam paper, to separate the screen from the keyboard when they are closed. One way or another, get a piece of this paper and a roll of thick adhesive tape.
The thing is more than simple. Place the piece of foam paper around the flash bulb , tightly, so that you know where you have to cut the paper later. You can make a mark with a marker or even make a small cut with scissors. Then take the paper and cut it vertically , using a ruler to mark the cut line if necessary.
The last step is to put the paper in the shape of a cylinder, stick it with the adhesive tape and attach it to the flash . Another option is to place the tape over one end of the paper, leaving a few inches “open”, and stick it to the other end after wrapping it around the bulb. In short, a way of not having to buy the accessory cylinder of yore for your flash device .
But since most mortals do not use more than the flash of the camera itself, in the next installment we will teach you to create the chiaroscuro effect by retouching the photo with an editing program.