2 Light Setup For Family Portrait

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portrait photography lighting Setup For Beginners

Corking portrait photography lighting is a topic that could fill up a dozen textbooks or a 20-part video series. You’re merely looking for a unproblematic setup that’southward perfect for beginners. This mail service gives yous 3 simple setups that you can copy.

Rather than starting with complicated multiple low-cal set-ups we’re going to start you lot with the simples lighting that y’all can apply for portraits. Read on.

When washed properly, using simply one light can give you just desire you lot want, a nicely lit portrait. Here is the first example of a portrait lighting that yous can easily re-create.

Simple Portrait Lighting Setup #1

Wink gun provided principal and fill lighting.

This nuptials photo was taken in a hotel room with no windows providing whatever natural light.

  • Employ a wink on top of your camera’southward hot shoe.

  • Position your subject facing toward and non too far from a wall.

  • Rotate/tilt the flash so that it bounces the low-cal off the wall and possibly the ceiling some of the ceiling.

  • Look at your LCD screen. Evaluate information technology and adjust the direction of the flash to get an contradistinct lighting effect.

Each situation will be different. The walls, the ceiling, and how you pose your subject will vary, so you learn equally you go.

It’s my goal to provide you with good quality content and inspiration to take your portrait photography to the next level and lighting is possibly perchance the most vital and lifelong skill you tin can master.

Unproblematic Portrait Lighting Setup #2

This senior citizen portrait was taken in a room with a sliding drinking glass door providing natural calorie-free.

  • Apply aperture priority  and a wide lens opening for a blurry background.
  • Position your subject field every bit close equally possible and behind the largest window/door. Encounter the diagram of the setup below
  • Use a big reflector white cardboard, bedsheet, photo reflector on the adumbral side of the subject field’south face.
  • Adjust the distances betwixt the subject and the window or the reflector and the discipline.

Each situation will exist unlike. The natural lighting, surrounding walls, and the size of your reflector will vary, and then you learn as you lot go.

single light source portrait lighting

Balanced main and make full lighting

Simple portrait lighting setup
Overhead view of window lighting setup

Unproblematic Portrait Lighting Setup #3

Simple fill flash example
Simple make full flash example

This outdoor family portrait was taken in the shade, but near of the light was coming from behind and above my subjects.

  • Use a wink on top of your camera’s hot shoe.

  • Reduce the ability of the flash so that it doesn’t ruin the natural light that is present..
  • Y’all tin can either a reduced power

     in automated or manual modes.

  • Expect at your LCD screen. Evaluate it and conform the amount of the flash to become just the right amount of fill low-cal.
  • Each situation will be unlike. The direction, intensity, and quality of light will dictate how much fill up flash to use.

the iii bones CONSIDERATIONs For Setting Up portrait lighting

1. the number of lights you use

Nowadays I rarely use more than then ii lights for portrait photography. It’s simpler that way. Fashion and glamour photographers usually use quite a few more than that, but for at present, here are the bones iv blazon of lights that I learned nearly in photography schoolhouse long ago.

  1. Chief Lite
    , also chosen the fundamental light. This is often an umbrella light or a soft-box.

  2. Fill Low-cal
    . This is sometimes not an actual low-cal, but a reflector bouncing low-cal from the central light. The fill calorie-free is usually placed on the opposite side of the discipline from the key light.

  3. ACCENT Low-cal, may be a hair low-cal or a skim calorie-free that provides separation for the background. Some portrait photography lighting set-ups will utilise several of these.

  4. BACKGROUND Calorie-free. This may exist a light aimed at a backdrop or at the scenery in the background.

You lot don’t take to employ all four types of portrait photography lighting. In fact, I usually utilize two and sometimes just one. In the photo below, I wanted a low lighting ratio betwixt just the 2 lights that I used, a main lite and a fill light.

Soft light baby photo
Unproblematic Soft Lighting

I positioned the single main light, up high and to the left of my subject and added a single fill light, backside and to the right of the camera to light this newborn. The lighting ratio between the 2 lights was low, giving me a soft flat lighting advisable for the subject.

2. the characteristics of light

Light can exist harsh or soft, broad or narrow, big or small-scale, direct or indirect. A big, “soft” light volition produce shadows with more gradual modify to highlight areas. Smaller light sources will produce sharper edged transitions from the shadows to the highlights.

3. the  lighting ratio

high lighting ratio example

When the lighting ratio is high there is a big difference in the corporeality of light that is hitting the lit areas compared to the amount of low-cal that is hitting the shadow areas.

A low lighting ration means there is not a big difference betwixt the amount of low-cal that is hitting the lit areas compared to the shadow areas.

Hither’due south a more detailed caption of lighting ratio.

HOW I GOT HOOKED on porttrait lighting

Portrait photography lighting is a subject near and to my heart and has been since I created my first portrait when I was 9 years old.  Yes, I know what you’re thinking, only stay hither with me for a second.

You see what happened is that I got chip by the photography bug when my quaternary course class took a trip to the zoo. My parents gave me a cheap plastic Kodak moving picture camera to use at the zoo. Only that didn’t matter!

Nigh of the photos  I got dorsum a week later were pretty, blurry, non well composed and the lighting was not adept. But there was one that wasn’t like the rest. Yes, in that location was one photo that came out perfect. It was a candid portrait of my 4th grade teacher. The lighting was simply perfect and I didn’t know it at the time, but it would influence me in some foreign fashion and I became a portrait lensman.

Lighting in Photography. This is a simple article written to illustrate the impact the management of the light has on bring out the features in your subject. Merely before you click, I have a warning. I picked a very UN-interesting subject to photograph for the article.

Photo Lighting – using mannequins to practise. The bear on that the direction, quality and intensity of the portrait lighting has on the human confront. The mannequins stay in the same position with the same expression.

Outdoor Portrait Photography. I practice my best to find a good location with excellent natural lighting when doing family portraits outdoors. Here are 4 family unit portraits where the lighting was almost ideal. In 3 of them I used big white reflectors to improve the lighting just a fleck.

Photography Lighting. A diverse mix of lighting in 5 different photos. One of the photos shows 5 dissimilar appearances of the same object due to the lighting.

Photography Lighting Kits. You now take many photography lighting kits bachelor. Digital cameras are really sensitive to depression light situations and you can utilize non-wink lighting to super lighting in your portrait photography.

5 styles of portrait photography lighting

The following video was made byTheSlantedLens.

Information technology does a great task of explaining the5 styles of portrait photography lighting used for indoor portraits. These include Rembrandt, Split, Broad, Butterfly and Loop lighting.

You don’t necessarily take to employ the same kind of lights as depicted in this video to mimic these portrait lighting styles. I learned to follow them closely while taking a portrait photography form my freshman twelvemonth in college, only I rarely use them now that I take portraits for a living.

With indoor portrait photography I tend to take my models change their head position frequently and that will modify the lighting style if the lights are not moved every bit well.

The other things that have a big impact on your portrait photography lighting is the amount of fill calorie-free that is filling in the shadows as well as the amount of diffusion that you chief(key light) and fill lights have. The amount of make full calorie-free light affects the lighting ratio every bit well as the contrast yous will go far your final lighting set-upwardly.

Don’t go me wrong. These 5 portrait photography lighting styles are important to learn. Equipment has changed dramatically in the terminal 50 years, but peoples faces are pretty much the same.

Keep shooting. Keep learning. Proceed improving.

Article published by Bruce Lovelace


Bruce is the publisher of Ameliorate Digital Photo Tips. Read more on the


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