If you have ever wanted to know how to capture beautiful portraits in a photographic studio then you will not want to overlook these tips and tricks. Recently I did a shoot of a friend in the studio. She wanted a simple portrait for her site. I used a few techniques and tricks to not only pose her well, but light the photo in a pleasing way.
Studio portrait techniques are not hard to become skilled at. They simply need an understanding of how much light you must use, and, where it is coming from. Studio light is so uncomplicated and can be understood with some preparation. It’s important not to hurry these things as you complete an understanding of studio lighting.
Studio portrait lighting techniques depend heavily what quantity of light falls on the subject. Nearly all studio lighting is equipped with quite a few lights including softboxes. Softboxes are pretty easy to utilise. They are lights that have a uninterrupted mode to them, but fire with a wireless trigger. This will mean that that the lights stay on until you connect a wireless remote trigger to them.
This little device sits on your camera. Its counterpart attaches at the rear of the light. When you press the shutter button that light shoots out a burst of light, similar to the light from the flash. The reason for this is that we want to shoot a well lit portrait. We cannot always do this with diffused lighting. The light has the softbox fastened to it so that you can light your portrait well, but still have the strong light you need. Its the same principle as using a huge diffuser on top of your flash. Its ideal lighting for studio portraits.
The angle and output of light are two considerations when creating lovely studio portraits. You need precisely the right quantity of light on the subject’s face. Too much angle and you can create too many hard shadows under the nose, chin and darken the eyes. This doesn’t work for standard studio portraits. Its crucial to fill out any possible shadow areas on the subject’s face. We do this by ensuring the persons face has the correct amount of light.
Next we must examine the angle of light. Typically studio portraiture relies on front on lighting. This is for exactly the same reason as the first example. If you have an individual light to the side of the persons head you will create deep shadowed areas across their face. This is great for a dramatic effect but it will not work for a happy, family studio shot of your friend or family member.
You can light the person from the face with one light or two. If you use two lights they must be placed at like distances on either side of the subject’s face. For example, you can place one light two meters away from the persons right side of the face. After that, you can place a light at exactly the same distance on the other side.
That will give you an even lighting style across their face, eradicating any shadows completely.
What about the backdrop? You can keep the background basic if you want the key focus to be on the face. On the other hand you can bring in a few studio props. These may be belongings that the person loves, such as flowers, a push bike and even a favourite old chair.
At all times keep the lighting simple. Think about what you want to illuminate and place the lights in that spot. I know it sounds a lot easier than it really is, but with some practice you will become good at the studio in no time.