Studio Portrait Lighting-A How To
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Old 10-09-2006   #1
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Default Studio Portrait Lighting-A How To

There are seven images in this series. Five will show what each single light does on its own, one will show all of the lights together, then the final image will show a wide angle shot showing the light placement around the subject.

In this first image we show just the background light. This light illuminates the background only and will keep any dark clothing that the subject may be wearing or her dark hair from blending in with the background. It also removes any shadows that may be cast from the main or fill lights.

Benji

P.S. This tutorial and several more of the tutorials found here on PhotoCamel are included in my DVD Photographing The High School Senior in The New Millennium. PM me for additional information.

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Old 10-09-2006   #2
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This second image shows what the hair light does, which is illuminating the hair! It is above and behind the subject aimed down and will keep the hair looking healthy. A soft box could also be used. A small amount of spill on the shoulders is OK especially if the clothing is dark, but on white or sleeveless clothing it should be avoided if possible.

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Old 10-09-2006   #3
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The third light is the kicker light (also known as the accent light or garlic light) and "kicks" some light onto the side of the subject's dark hair opposite of the main light side. This light should "connect" with the hair light and the main light so the hair is lit from all sides (wrap around lighting) and will make the subject's hair look healthy and keep it from blending in with a dark background.

It is also used on males to just graze the side of his face to outline the masculine jaw. It is occasionally used on women in the same fashion. It should "kiss" the subject, not blast them, and when used as a kicker on long haired women the light should not encroach onto the cheek, nose, shoulder or chest.

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Old 10-09-2006   #4
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The fourth light is the main light. The main light provides contrast from one side of the face to the other because it is more powerful than the fill light and will cast a shadow onto the opposite side. It should only illuminate the subject. A broad light source (such as a softbox) will cast a soft shadow. A hard light source (such as a straight 16 inch parabolic reflector) will cast a harder shadow. The closer the light source is to the subject the softer the light appears.

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Old 10-09-2006   #5
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The last light is the fill light. The fill light is a broad light source usually placed behind the photographer and fills in the shadows. This light should provide illumination to everything the lens of the camera will "see." This light will guarantee that your blacks will register with detail on your print. The fill should follow the nose. A fill metered at 2 stops less than the main will give you approximately a 3 to 1 ratio of highlight to shadow.

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File Type: jpg FillLight.jpg (99.1 KB, 10102 views)
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Old 10-09-2006   #6
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This is what the final image looks like when all of the above lights are used at the same time! I also posed her properly with the feminine head tilt.

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Old 10-09-2006   #7
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A wide angle shot. I stood behind the fill light to get this shot. Beginning at camera left, you can see the aluminum light stand that holds the fill light which just ahead of me. The extreme right edge of the 62 inch umbrella can be seen at the top left of this image (it is black.)* The next light at camera left is the main light and it is at the subject's right up high aimed down. It is the black soft box that has "LiteDome 293" on it . It has louvers (which cannot be seen.) The next light is above and behind the subject which is the hair light. It is snooted to prevent light from spilling over onto the shoulders.* The last light is the kicker light which you can see on a stand at camera right rear beside the background. It also is snooted to keep the light exactly where it is aimed. In both the kicker and hair lights I have honeycombs which force the light to go in a straight line instead of spreading out.

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Old 10-09-2006   #8
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Default Re: Studio Portrait Lighting-A How To

That final image brought a smile to my face.

Outstanding image and outstanding tutorial. Thanks!
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Old 10-09-2006   #9
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Thanks well done.
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Old 10-09-2006   #10
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Great tutorial have a karma


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