Portrait Lighting With LEDs

Tips for using constant LED lighting in studio as well as mixing it with natural light (indoors and out)
With an Astra Bi-Color LED light as the key, I shifted the light’s output to tungsten while maintaining a daylight white balance in the camera. The result is a warm, glowing sunset look—and it was as easy as turning a dial. One of the biggest changes to occur in lighting technology in recent years has been the introduction—and rapid technological... Read more

Lighting Separation Anxiety

Keep the reproduction of your images in mind when shooting stock—or any images—for successful sales
Lighting Separation Anxiety
I collaborated with photographer Daihezi Ji on a lighting test to show movement yet freeze her in the same frame. I set my camera to rear sync to fire my Profoto B1s at the end of the ½-second exposure with the backdrop/hair light positioned camera right in a silver collapsible beauty dish to provide separation. The keylight, also in a collapsible... Read more

Essential Flash

Five reasons why you should never leave your flash at home
A Nikon SB-5000 Speedlight and orange gel were used to simulate sunlight on the model’s back and shoulders. Nikon D850, AF-S NIKKOR 85mm ƒ/1.8G, 1/3200 sec., ƒ/1.8, ISO 31 In this day and age of going ultra-lightweight, photographers discriminately minimize their photo kits to the bare essentials. After all, who doesn’t like carrying less weight?... Read more

Top Photographers Share Their Lighting Techniques

These professionals have mastered the use of light to create exceptional work, from editorial to sports to wedding photography
lighting techniques
These professionals have mastered the use of light to create exceptional work, from editorial to sports to wedding photography. Plus, check out Digital Photo Pro’s Portrait Lighting Essentials Guide. 1. Joe McNally: Master Storyteller The photographer balances creativity with lighting and technical prowess to tell compelling stories with his images.... Read more

11 Ways To Improve Your Photographic Lighting

With an understanding of these go-to lighting techniques, you can easily light any scene with dramatic results
lighting techniques
Grasping good lighting is a lot like understanding the relationship between aperture and shutter speed—it’s confusing up until the moment it clicks, and then every photograph becomes a variation on that idea. These photographic lighting articles present go-to techniques, with some gear recommendations, that are the foundation on which all other... Read more

Portrait Lighting Essentials

With these simple lighting techniques, it's possible to master any scene with confidence
Portrait Lighting Essentials
The art of portrait lighting is the art of bringing out the essence of an individual—identifying the person’s personality and facial features, and coming up with a lighting scheme that will synchronize with them. Many photographers fall into the habit of using a stock setup for all of their work without consideration of the person they’re... Read more

The Mixed Studio

Blending modern LED lights with strobes for unique lighting options
Mixed Studio
This image uses two LED lights and one strobe. An 18” circular flapjack is the main light on the left, with a ring flash as an accent light on right. An Elinchrom ELB 400 strobe using a 30-degree grid lights the blue background. I love my strobes. Watching them pop away during a shoot energizes the set and amplifies my creativity. My obsession with... Read more

Low-Key Black & White Portrait Lighting

How a little light can go a long way to make a dramatic, dark and moody portrait

In a lot of commercial portraiture these days, there’s an emphasis on high-production values. Whether from exotic locations or from using a lot of lights, it seems the conventional wisdom is generally “more is better.” But, in fact, when trying to create a moody, dramatic or intimate black-and-white portrait, sometimes less actually is more. With... Read more

Mastering Soft Light Photography

Little differences between light modifiers make for big changes in the look of a light

Any discussion of soft lighting tools begins with two classic modifiers: the softbox and the umbrella. From each of these devices has sprung a world of variations—so many that it can be difficult to know why to choose one modifier over another. Soft is a relative term, after all, and the little differences between modifiers produce subtle, but important,... Read more

Small Lights Big Effects

Get the most out of small strobes for big lighting effects when you need to work fast on location and don’t want to sacrifice an ounce of lighting control and quality

I’ve had my share of 90-second portrait sessions with important people who are short on time, and the ability to set up refined three-point lighting in no time flat can be the difference between getting the shot and going home with nothing. Photographer Corey Woodruff, a small-strobe specialist, once drove seven hours round-trip to shoot for three... Read more

Simplify Your Lighting

Less is often more when it comes to crafting beautiful illumination

I recently received a call from a commercial photographer who was to visit my city on assignment. Along with recommendations for assistants, digital techs and hairstylists, he also inquired about renting a basic lighting setup. "Only four or five packs," he said, "and maybe just eight or 10 heads." He would be bringing some more... Read more

Mastering Photography Lighting Angles

Understanding a few simple techniques will take your images to the next level
Most professionals are well versed in lighting techniques for their particular subject matter. Food photographers know how to light food. Jewelry photographers know how to light jewelry; wedding photographers know how to light brides. We’re presenting the following excerpt from Light: Science & Magic by Hunter, Biver and Fuqua (Focal Press) because... Read more
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