A Portrait Session…..MAKING SOMETHING OUT OF NOT MUCH

Whether in Wedding Photography or Portraiture it is easy to forgive problems in lighting and posing when there is a spectacular sky line or sunset behind the subject.  I see many images that have a main light provided by an “On Camera flash” that happens to be off the camera and looks less than professional, with posing that is unimaginative, but is still an interesting image because of the beauty of the skyline as a background.  But as a portrait or wedding photographer, we are in the business of creating beautiful portraits of people not beautiful landscapes that happen to have people in them!

The same things happen in the studio with complex sets and full length images.  The smaller the facial size, the less noticeable poor lighting is, the smaller the body appears in the frame, the less noticeable poor posing is and the more interesting the background, the less you will notice poor lighting or posing, which is probably why so many photographers do it!

When you practice your lighting and posing, start with a blank canvas, a solid white or black seamless background.  Make the subject look beautiful using only the tools of lighting and posing.  With a plain white background, mistakes in lighting and posing are very noticeable and won’t get overlooked.  So many photographers have a handful of poses and only one or two lighting styles they use for everything.  Try new poses and practice getting them down during test sessions, not with paying clients. (For new posing ideas you can buy one of my books or DVD’s or simply look in any bridal or fashion magazines).   Try different lighting styles with different types of main lights to increase your knowledge of your craft.  During this session, we used a our more traditional lighting (Halo as the main light  with a reflector or floor box underneath the main)  A Beauty Dish fitted with barn-doors, a strip light as a main light source and Butter Fly lighting .  I use different style of lighting during each session I do to produce different looks and styles of portraits.  When you use multiple lighting styles you find that subjects that might be hard to photograph with more traditional portrait lighting, might look amazing with a different lighting style that has a different lighting characteristic.

The one major problem I see with studio lighting is using a light source that is too soft and doesn’t provide an adequate shadowing.  They say that light is our paintbrush, which isn’t true, it is the contrast between highlight and shadow that is our paint brush and the transition from highlight to shadow is how we create depth and realism in our lighting and ultimately in our portraits.  For this reason I use many types of main lights that produce a harder lighting characteristic than a typical soft box.  The size of the main light sources are also smaller than most portrait photographer use, because the larger the light main light source the less control you have over the where the light will go on the subject, the larger the main light source the less control you have over the shadowing of he image.

 

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~ by jeffsmithbooks on August 11, 2012.

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