Tips For Lighting Portrait Photographs
When it comes to portrait photography – whether you’re taking a selfie on your smartphone or doing professional headshots on a DSLR or mirrorless camera – lighting is the key ingredient.
Poor lighting choices will immediately show up and make your photographs look amateurish. They will also be incredibly hard to fix in your edit, unless you are very good at altering images with photoshop.
Here are some tips for getting better lighting on your portrait subjects:
1. Be Mindful Of The Effect you Want
So often people say avoid direct light on the face or don’t shoot outdoors in the middle of the day when the sun is shining.
However, you might want that high contrast look for your portrait, meaning that is exactly the kind of light you should be using. It’s all about defining the mood and effect you want to create and using the lighting setup that will give you that effect.
2. Look At Your Shadows
New photographers will often try to get rid of all shadows on their subject’s face so that you can see the details. However, this looks incredibly unnatural and you will also end up losing detail in the face. You want to be able to see the lines of the cheekbones, the curve of the lips, the shape around the nose and even definition around the eyes. This comes from shadows and highlights.
In classic portrait photography, the key is to ensure that the shadows aren’t too harsh or dark because then you will lose the detail in the shadowed areas. The trick is to make them light and subtle through your choice of lighting. The main lighting techniques used in professional headshots are split lighting, loop lighting, butterfly lighting and Rembrandt lighting.
3. Test Against The Skin Tone
Every skin tone reflects light differently and you need to account for that. When setting up your lights or planning your shoot, make sure you are aware of the colour of the skin of your model.
You likely need different tools or different settings for someone with darker skin compared with someone who has lighter skin. It’s also important to look at the tone of the skin – is it more red or yellow in complexion. This will impact the warmth of the light that you use or need.
4. Place Your Lights With Intention
Like the different markets you find when enjoying online betting xyz, you get lights that perform different functions when setting up a portrait photograph. Your key light or main light is the one that gives you the bulk of your light. Your fill light will soften the shadows created by your key light. This one is often just a reflector or a much softer light than your key light.
You should also think about a catchlight in order to bring your subject’s eyes to life. This is a small light that gets picked up by the eyes and reflected back to camera. It comes across as a little spark in the eyes and lightens the iris to ensure that the eyes don’t look completely black.