10 Basic Lighting Techniques for Studio Portrait Photography

10 Basic Lighting Techniques for Studio Portrait Photography

Knowing how to use lighting is an essential photographic skill, especially for studio portrait photography.
In this post, we introduce 10 basic studio lighting techniques that will help you to improve your portrait photography.

1. Use of Backlight and Side Backlight
We can use backlighting and side backlighting for soft-tone portrait photography. Backlighting and side backlighting can make the contours of the characters stand out and increase the three-dimensional feeling.

2. Side Backlight, Reflector and Top Light
The lighting of the top light is added to increase the transparency and subtle three-dimensional changes of the characters.

3. Side Backlight + Reflector
Artificial reflected light must be illuminated by a luminous object (studio light) on a certain object before it can be reflected on the person being photographed, and the reflective object itself is not a luminous object. The reflector we often use is a reflective object. Reflectors are used on the front and left and right positions of the characters, and flashing lights are used on the sides and rear of the characters, so that the light is softer and more delicate.

4. Semi-surrounded Light + Reflected Light
On the basis of semi-surrounded and reflected light (light reflection) light distribution, the light distribution method can be directly used in combination with a reflector and multiple light-transmitting lamps, and a semi-enclosed projection light combined with diffuse reflection and fill light of the reflector can be used.

5. Semi-surrounded Light + Front Side Light
In order to appropriately increase the texture and three-dimensional changes of the characters, you can use the semi-enclosed lighting, increase the front side light to enhance the three-dimensional changes and textures of the characters, which can quickly and conveniently adjust the change of the character's three-dimensional light ratio.

6. Semi-surrounded Light + Top Light
We can use the semi-surrounded lighting, in the surround of the left and right soft cloth, change the intensity of the left and right flashing lights to increase the change of the light ratio, and use the soft box on it to supplement the light. Such light illumination increases the projection of the characters and makes them transparent.

7. Surrounded Light + Top Light
In the surrounded lighting, we can also increase the top light to increase the three-dimensional changes of the characters. The main feature of such light illumination is that the light in the field is transparent and the feeling of soft tones is stronger.

8. Hard Light (main light) + Reflected Light
The mixed light distribution method with hard light as the main light and reflected light as the auxiliary light. The hard light plays the role of overall plasticity, and the reflected light plays the role of increasing the level of rich details. The overall effect is more three-dimensional, with a strong sense of shaping.

9. Soft Light (main light) + Hard Light
Using soft light as the main light to illuminate the subject, the character's face is soft, the level is delicate, and the contrast is soft, which is beneficial to the expression of the skin. At the same time, hard light is used as the contour light to outline the characters' body lines, and the picture effect is three-dimensional. The soft light is the main method for shooting, and the hard light can be adjusted according to the actual situation.

10. Hard Light (main light) + Soft Light
The hard light is used as the main light to illuminate the subject, while soft light is used to increase the level and detail of the picture as the auxiliary light. Hard light is used as the main light so that the character's three-dimensional sense and texture will be prominent, while soft light is the auxiliary light, which will make the dark parts of the characters distinct and contrasting.

Practice makes perfect. Studio portrait photography lighting also requires practice. The more you practice these lighting techniques, the quicker you’re on your way to creating stunning portraits.

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