Lighting plays an important role in photography. You can use a point-and-shoot camera but when you are setting up portrait photography, it is necessary to set up the perfect lighting to highlight your subject. Consider these tips to follow in producing excellent pictures:
- The first thing you should do is to set up a main lighting. This is the general illumination of your subject. You can set it up by pointing the light at a 45 degree angle at your model and locate it at least 6 feet away. The other set up you can do for the main lighting is pointing it directly to your model or your subject but use a soft box or an umbrella system to diffuse the light into the area to illuminate your subject evenly.
- You may direct your main lighting towards a diffuse screen to have the light of the strobe diffuse to your subject. The light bounces off from the strobe to the diffuse screen and it usually lights up the whole subject.
- When you get your main lighting in place, you need to put up specific lighting to create a balance for the appearance of your subject. Specific lighting does away with awkward shadows that may show once your camera flash lights up your subject. It can also create depth in your photo or enhance the mood that you are trying to achieve. If you use the filler lights properly, they will fill the shadow areas that cannot be reached by the main lighting. Position the filler light at about the same height as the main light but modify it to spot on the darker spots of the subject.
- You can include direct lighting or highlighting. This is usually the small controlled light used to light the subject’s hair. It creates the illusion that the subject is under sunlight or a spotlight. To use this hair light, position this lighting at the back of the subject to have the perimeter of the subject’s head illuminated. This light is brighter than the rest of the lighting so be sure to position it correctly such that the center of the light does not show in the camera view or it will clash with the camera flash.
- You may add a background light. This lighting is diffused with a diffusion screen at the back of the subject. It will distinguish a separation of your subject from his background. The diffusing screen will prevent creating hot spots in your portrait.
- Use a reflector under the face of your subject to remove the dark shadows that the camera will reflect on your subject. If you are taking a half body portrait, this is necessary. Hold the reflector just about the level of the waist of the subject and points it upwards towards the chin. This eliminated the shadows usually under the chin.
They say that a photo says a thousand words. If you have taken a photo perfectly, it will convey a subtle message to the viewer. Sharp and clear photos are always pleasing to look at if you know how to produce the perfect illumination for it.