New Feature: Playlist Center! Pick a topic and let our playlists guide the way.

Start learning with our library of video tutorials taught by experts. Get started

Lighting for Photographers: Portraiture
Illustration by

Understanding lighting positions


From:

Lighting for Photographers: Portraiture

with Natalie Fobes

Video: Understanding lighting positions

We naturally know a lot about lighting already. Think about the last time you were outside enjoying a sunny day. You probably appreciated the sun on your face. The sun was the main or key light. It created a pattern of highlights and shadows on your face. Now you've moved to a white concrete driveway. The sun is still the key light, but there's lighter reflecting off the concrete and filling in the shadows, that's fill light. Let's bring it inside. It's a stormy November day in Seattle and you want to read a book, so you switch on the reading lamp. That lamp is now the key light, because it's the brightest light in the room.

Watch this entire course now—plus get access to every course in the library. Each course includes high-quality videos taught by expert instructors.

Become a member
please wait ...
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

Understanding lighting positions

We naturally know a lot about lighting already. Think about the last time you were outside enjoying a sunny day. You probably appreciated the sun on your face. The sun was the main or key light. It created a pattern of highlights and shadows on your face. Now you've moved to a white concrete driveway. The sun is still the key light, but there's lighter reflecting off the concrete and filling in the shadows, that's fill light. Let's bring it inside. It's a stormy November day in Seattle and you want to read a book, so you switch on the reading lamp. That lamp is now the key light, because it's the brightest light in the room.

If you pull your book closer to your face, it reflects some of that light to show the shadows. In both of these scenarios there are two light sources. In almost every lighting setup there is a main or key light that reveals the form and shape. In both of our examples, light was bounced back into the subject by reflector, but you can also use lights to add fill. The rest of the lights you use are named for what they do and that makes it pretty simple to remember.

A hair light adds detail to the hair and separates a subject from the background. Because of this it's sometimes referred to as a separator light. Some photographers like this brighter than the light on the face and others like it more subtle, so it just brings out the detail in the hair. With hair light, another consideration is the angle of light to the hair and the reflective quality of the hair itself. Whether the hair is light or dark, matte or shiny, affects how much light is reflected.

A background light, lights the background. This adds a sense of depth to the photograph and can be positioned to draw attention to the subject. It's common to use a background light to create a vignette around the subject. Accent lights or kicker lights add just a little more illumination to emphasize a small area of the subject or to show texture. These are normally placed behind or to the side of the subject. So those were the basic building blocks that make up a lighting setup, whether you use one, two, or all of these lights, depends on your subject, and the message that you want your photograph to convey.

There are currently no FAQs about Lighting for Photographers: Portraiture.

 
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.
Upgrade now


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

join now Upgrade now

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Lighting for Photographers: Portraiture.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.