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Lighting for Photographers: Portraiture

Exploring a four-light portrait scenario


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Lighting for Photographers: Portraiture

with Natalie Fobes

Video: Exploring a four-light portrait scenario

A four light setup can be used for everything from corporate, to seniors, to character portraits. It's also a great lighting for video interviews. I used four lights and a reflector for this setup with Paulina. Natalie Fobes: All right! Bring it in as close as you can to her. Sam: Okay. Natalie Fobes: Even closer. Remember that the closer and the larger the light sources relation to their subject, the softer the light.

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Lighting for Photographers: Portraiture
1h 11m Beginner Sep 24, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, photographer and teacher Natalie Fobes introduces the techniques behind lighting for portraiture. The course begins with a look at the role of light in setting the mood of a portrait, and then looks at the essential gear photographers need for continuous-light portraiture. (Much of the course is also applicable to strobe lighting.)

Next, Natalie details a variety of common one-light and two-light lighting techniques, explaining exposure, metering considerations, and light modifiers along the way.

The course concludes with several lighting tips, including minimizing physical challenges and do-it-yourself lighting gear instructions.

Topics include:
  • Understanding lighting positions
  • Deconstructing photos to study lighting
  • Lighting a portrait for a Rembrandt pattern
  • Backlighting in portraits
  • Examining a four-light portrait scenario
  • Lighting for different skin tones
Subjects:
Photography Cameras + Gear Portraits Lighting
Author:
Natalie Fobes

Exploring a four-light portrait scenario

A four light setup can be used for everything from corporate, to seniors, to character portraits. It's also a great lighting for video interviews. I used four lights and a reflector for this setup with Paulina. Natalie Fobes: All right! Bring it in as close as you can to her. Sam: Okay. Natalie Fobes: Even closer. Remember that the closer and the larger the light sources relation to their subject, the softer the light.

Look what happens, when I move the soft box back. So here she is in the middle of the soft box. A lot different light than what we had in the front. If the soft fox is in front or slightly in front, then it wraps around her face. Sam: And you can still get some light on the right side. Natalie Fobes: You get the light on both sides. Now that we've got our key light figured out, let's work with the hair light. I think it's going to be okay, but, we're going to check it out.

Sam: Okay. Natalie Fobes: Yes, that's great! Now I always like to check the hair light without the key light on and that way you can see whether the light is going to be spilling over onto her face. I don't want it to pollute the front of her face. Sam: Right! Natalie Fobes: By that I mean I don't want any kind of light to sneak over. If she is half a foot back, we'd have to adjust the light. Sam: Does the hair light always have to be overtop? Natalie Fobes: It does not. No, you can often--often I use it on the side. Sam: Okay. Natalie Fobes: I use it--right now we have it on our boom and that's primarily, because in the studio it's easier to maneuver it.

But I also put in back on just a regular light stand. Sam: Got you. Natalie Fobes: Next, we will add a fill. Now the beauty of continuous light is that you can adjust it as needed. Now I pull it closer and it's more of a one-to-one ratio. I'll move it back and you can see that the difference between the highlight and the shadow is about two stops at this point, very nice.

So we've got out key, we have got our hair light, that's one stop down from our key and this one is about two stops down from our key. That's a beautiful ratio to use within any kind of portraiture. It gives depth to it, to the person's face. And yet it doesn't seem too dark. It doesn't seem too moody. Let's put on the background right now. Sam: Okay. Natalie Fobes: Next. Okay so, what I'm going for here is exactly where we have it placed.

I'm going for that old pattern of dark, to light, to dark, to light. Sam: Right, going across. Natalie Fobes: Yeah. So it cuts across, it adds interest to the background, and it also gives that sense of depth. Can you lean forward, head down, chin down? Nice! So let's bring in a reflector. One of the round disks, let's have the metallic one. Sam: Okay. Natalie Fobes: Now let's see. Let me take a look at it, put it down.

I'll take a quick shot, there you go, even more and lower you chin, great, looks good. Okay, shake it out. Okay now go back into that pose again, great! Now the last touch, check this out Sam. This is like cool. This is really awesome. Look what happens when I bring down in. Sam: Oh yeah! Natalie Fobes: Isn't that neat? Sam: Yeah, it really highlights her right there.

Natalie Fobes: It sure does. Sam: Now would you have to hold this yourself if I wasn't here, or could you have her hold it? Natalie Fobes: If you weren't here she could hold that, yeah definitely. And I have had many many people turned into temporary assistant. Lower your chin a little bit, nice. Once the lights were in place, I noticed that we lost all detail in the side of her hair facing camera. I had Sam hold the reflector to bounce just a little light into that area. It's barely noticeable, but reveals detail.

This lighting is perfect for Paulina's pleasant expression.

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