Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Creative Lighting For Portraiture
Affordable lighting setups that can dramatically improve your images
|This Article Features Photo Zoom|
Traditional continuous lights often are used in a portraiture session because you can see the effects on a set or scene as changes are made. Continuous lights are affordable and easy to learn. Because they're constantly lit during a shoot, however, traditional continuous lights tend to build up a lot of heat in only a short time. They also pack less power than a bursting strobe is capable of. To address this, moving a light closer to the subject gives more light (since light falloff quarters as the distance from the subject doubles), but that also can make subjects hot under the collar, which can ruin makeup, wardrobe and hair.
|28-inch Recessed Front Apollo Softbox From Westcott
Looking at these two images, their stark contrast is apparent: the location, people, treatment, mood. The subject matter alone ranges from a tattoo artist in his shop all the way to a model in the studio. What could possibly pair them? There are unifying factors in both of these shots—the modifier I used to light them and the reasons I chose this particular product.
Continuous light sources have made a comeback, as well, thanks primarily to LED technology and video capability in still cameras. Video requires constant illumination as opposed to a strobe or flash burst, and LED technology has improved to the point where LED lights can output enough throw to fully light a scene while producing very little heat and drawing very little power compared to traditional continuous lights. They're almost entirely flicker-free for a constant, unwavering quality of light, important when shooting video, and better LED models also allow you to dial up or down the intensity of light output. A few LED models even let you shift the white balance to match ambient conditions or for unique color temperature effects in an image. You can find LED solutions from ikan, Litepanels, Lowel, Manfrotto, Rosco and others.
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