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Lighting for Photographers: Portraiture

Portrait scenario: Athlete


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Lighting for Photographers: Portraiture

with Natalie Fobes

Video: Portrait scenario: Athlete

I knew I wanted something creative and edgy for this portrait of Craig. He is an athlete with amazing muscle definition. And I set my lights to show that in the photo. Natalie Fobes: Bring that strip box around, please! Sam: This one here? Natalie Fobes: Yeah. And I want it coming in on an angle from the back. Okay, so go ahead and flip that on and we'll take a look at what's going on. Right now it's in the horizontal position. I don't want it in the horizontal position, because it's wrapping too much around his body.

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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

Portrait scenario: Athlete

I knew I wanted something creative and edgy for this portrait of Craig. He is an athlete with amazing muscle definition. And I set my lights to show that in the photo. Natalie Fobes: Bring that strip box around, please! Sam: This one here? Natalie Fobes: Yeah. And I want it coming in on an angle from the back. Okay, so go ahead and flip that on and we'll take a look at what's going on. Right now it's in the horizontal position. I don't want it in the horizontal position, because it's wrapping too much around his body.

So make it vertical. Sam: Can I just turn it? Natalie Fobes: You can just turn it, yeah. The diffusion at this point is just making the light bigger, so I'm still getting this strip all the way down to about here, the light coming in. But it doesn't have that soft wraparound look. And in this case, we're moving it back to the point where it's really hard again, which is cool! What I'm looking for is a really distinct light right here. And the way the angle is, it's coming in on his skin and it's bouncing right back off.

Now let me take a couple here, see what we've got. And Craig another strong, straight on at me, just, there we go, and chin down just a little bit, and maybe tilted this way. But eyes right at me, there you go. But I am getting flared. So go ahead and can you get the flag? Basically to prevent stuff from light from going where you don't want it go. Sam: It keeps out of your lens, right? Natalie Fobes: Yeah, yeah! And bring it in a little bit closer, so, you can basically see, yeah and twisted so a little bit more.

So you're not affecting the light on him, but, you're affecting the light that might hit my lens and flare. So go ahead and assume the position again, okay. And this time a really strong look, really strong. Elbows out please. And lean forward from the waist, even more, okay, and turn your head, and down with your chin, even more, there we go, great! Let's bring our handy-dandy insulation panel.

I love this thing. And this is as close to a mirror as we've got right now in the studio. And remember; look for this edge right here on this side of his body. I want to have that really intense, right there. What is happening is that I've got almost a mirror of intensity on these two sides, okay, you're good. There you go, nice hard edge there.

Strong look with your face, yup, that looks good. One more thing I want to do. Sam, take a look, if we zoom in on his eyes, you can see that we don't really have a good catch light there. I have a little tiny LED light, and I'm going to mount this right on top at my camera. It's not going to be enough to overpower any of our lights, but it's going to add a little sparkle.

And turn toward the light again with your whole body, oops! The other way, there you go. Now I am getting a nice shine off of that new spritzing that we did. So go ahead and that back elbow out real strong, and a real strong look. Let's just finesse it a little bit more. I'm seeing a hotspot on the top of your head. Just take that little scrap of foam core, turn it so that the black is down on him, bring it in a little closer.

And in this case we're just getting over right there, yeah very nice. And a real strong, strong arms, out this way. There you go, got it. And the chin all the way down. Now just eyes up to me without the eyebrows, there you go, nice! By working the specular highlights and shadows, I knew I could accentuate his muscle tone.

I wanted hard light rimming his arms, shoulders and torso. By spritzing him with a mixture of water and glycerin, his skin glistened and reflected the lights. It also made it look like he had just worked out. Small tweaks really make this photo stand out. The photograph closest to my vision has hard light, well-defined muscles, and a catch light in his eyes.

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