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Try These 5 Quick Lighting Techniques to Give Your Photos Some Spark

Project light through gobos to create head-turning looks for portraits
Screenshot for lighting tips

Lighting tips and techniques come in many forms. Some are elaborate lighting set-ups that require hours of preparation to produce a single look. Other lighting tips are fast, simple to produce, and can help you create several different styles in minutes. Manny Ortiz‘ new lighting tutorial below is of the quick and easy variety.

In the video below, Ortiz shares what he says are “three minutes of no BS, straight to the point creative lighting tips” for portrait photography. And his lighting advice lives up to the provocative title though it should be noted the tutorial itself is over six minutes long total, but who’s counting?

In the clip, Ortiz shows you how to use a Godox SA-17 Bowens Mount to S30 Adapter with a Godox SA-P Projection attachment to funnel a select amount of light to create five dramatic looks. Ortiz uses the Godox projector with a set of gobo light modifiers – what he calls “little circular pieces of magic” – to get the different creative effects.

Here are the five lighting effects he demonstrates in the video below.

#1 Staggered Window Light
“Yes, it’s not very realistic,” he says. “But I get this nice triangle shape at the top. I could’ve used a white backdrop, but I decided to use red because I felt it was going to make this image pop out of the screen.”

#2 Blurred Background Lines
“To slightly change things up, I asked [my model] to stand closer to me so I could blur out the lines on the backdrop and I got an entirely different look. This time by only changing her distance from the background and raising the light, I could make her shadow disappear behind her on the wall. ”

#3 Sitting Window Light
“My biggest concern here was to keep her entire body inside of the window projection and distribute it evenly so the photo looked balanced. I’m super anal about this kind of stuff and it’s important. These details matter.”

#4 The Money Shot
“I placed an LED on each side of her, set to blue. I had to raise the light on the right side of her all the way up so I could fill the top of her head with blue light. And I put the main light perfectly straight on to where her face was and slightly elevated to get that perfect slit on her face without creating any weird shadows.”

#5 The Money Shot II
“I loved how that looked so much that I kept the slit lighting going but this time I rimmed her with a red light and a blue light that I used to fill the shadows in on her body. By adding these two lights, I created a separation light, so her body didn’t just blend into the darkness.”

In the second half of the video, Ortiz demonstrates how to produce these same five looks using strobe flashes instead of continuous LED lights. If you want to learn more about strobe flashes vs LEDs, you should check out this tutorial explaining the pros and cons of each, along with our new gear guide where we pick our eight favorite products for both types of lighting.

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