Portrait Photography - Tips and Techniques
When taking a portrait you need to find out from the subject what the portrait is for. If the portrait is for a company website or brochure it will be more professional. If the portrait is for a spouse it will be more personal or sexy. For a profile portrait a good lighting choice is a soft box. You would want it close to the subject for a softer touch so the light will wrap around them. If you move the soft box further away, it will give a harder effect as the light will become smaller, if you are looking for something not so soft. For a much harsher effect, don’t use a soft box at all.
For a different effect on a front shot, a single honeycomb grid light in the background will create a circle of light around the subjects head. A background stand allows the flash head to be used at a very low level. The light should be positioned so that it is behind the model and hidden by their body. If you don’t like the white light, you can use a lighting gel to create a colored circle behind the model.
If you are looking to create a pure white background you want to use two lights in the background that are two stops brighter than the light in front of the subject. You are looking to overexpose the background by at least 2 stops to get a pure white background. You also need to make sure that the subject is at least 8 feet away from the background so that by the time the light bounces off the background and onto their back and hair it has lost enough power not to degrade the edges of the subject.
High key effect is the absence of dark tone. If the eyes and lips are darkened, for example, then you expose them directly to show them at their correct shade. This will overexpose the face and get rid of any imperfections in the skin. When taking a portrait the fill light needs to be set up where it will light the whole subject. It should be right in front of the camera and directly above or below it.
Tags: portrait photography