Once you decide to compete in the portrait studio market with big players such as JCPenney Portrait Studios, you should brace yourself for many challenges. You will need a good digital camera, but if you love to shoot indoors, then you cannot do without good lightning.
Actually, there’s only one thing all men and women wish from a portrait – to look fabulous. The main reason both men and women go to a portrait studio instead of taking their own photographs is because good photographers know how to use lighting in order to bring out client’s very best features. In case you are setting up lighting for photos, tips below will help you to use it in such a way to improve every portrait you take.
1. First of all, you have to bounce the light sources into photo- umbrellas so to slightly soften shadows on the client’s face as well as to diffuse light beams. Every photographer knows that direct and harsh lighting creates sharp and not so pretty shadows which make facial features look angular as well as stark. Therefore, instead of aiming the lights towards the client, point them into a photo-umbrella which should diffuse the light while it illuminates the subject’s face.
2. Try a traditional three-light configuration that is flattering to most subjects. Use two lights at 20-degree angles on either side of your camera and one more light, opposite your main light to reduce shadows from behind. This configuration allows full soft illumination of the subjects face while reducing rear shadows and providing a back-light effect.
3. Make sure you place lights, (it is explained in step 2), progressively farther away from your subject. Next, place the central light where it illuminates the subject’s face. After this increase the distance of the front fill light by only one third. Than increase the distance of the rear fill light by only one half. Just for an example, in case the central light is six feet from the model, the front fill light has to be eight feet farther away and the rear fill light has to be nine feet farther away.
4. Raise-up the rear light so that you can highlight the model’s hair. This light is usually referred to as a ‘hair-light’ since this light illuminates the fine hairs around the outside of the head from behind. Needless to say, this is very important. Your rear fill light basically adds that special professional touch that a snapshot simply can never achieve.
5. Last but not the least – make sure you cover the central light with some sort of a soft box in case you wish moderate diffusion and direct illumination. Basically, this is useful when taking photos for business cards as well as advertising since it creates a dramatic effect.