The Portrait Lighting Retreat

We held our first Portrait Lighting Retreat this past weekend and were rewarded with great images, new friendships, and renewed commitments to photographic education. This week's post is all about lighting the face and some of the simple things we can do to help up our game in terms of light quality. 

Ms. Kaitlyn York beautifully lit with impact provided by not only the lighting scheme but also the great eye contact.

For this image we used a large Octobank over the camera's position and fairly close to the face.  The fill was provided by the Eyelighter by Westcott that in addition to the shadow control, also provides the wonderful specular highlight in the lower portion of the iris in the eye. 

The secondary source of impact is the color in the hair which not only adds depth and interest, also brings the subject forward off of the background while adding separation. 

About a year ago I was testing some new lighting setups and fell in love with the idea of using twin lights behind the subject aimed directly at each other. If positioned correctly with a wide angle reflector, bare bulb, or umbrella results in light coming forward towards the hair of the subject and going back to the background at the same time.  

Another element of the workshop we discussed heavily is the relationship between highlight side of the face and shadow side.  Here we can easily identify there is a 2:1 ratio compared to an 8:1 ratio. The difference is one stop for the 2:1 and three stops for the 8:1.

And finally, the image below was taken with only two lights, one medium softbox on the face and a medium box giving light to the hair and background from the opposite side from the main light. So much about successful studio work comes from practice. Lots and lots of practice. 



Link to pre-order the new Location Lighting Book: