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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Instant Portrait Studio

Five essential tools for creating stunning portraits at home

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Interfit STR104 Softbox
LIGHTING
To ensure your ability to create good light, we recommend having at least three lights on hand: one for the background, one as your main light and one for fill. If you already have a flash, you could consider adding additional flash units to your system. Pair them with an accessory softbox like Interfit's Strobies for soft, diffused light. Or, you could opt for monolights like Paul C. Buff's affordable AlienBees.


Paul C. Buff AlienBees
Whichever light sources you choose, you'll want them to be the same color temperature so that the color of the light is consistent. This isn't a concern if you're using three identical lights, but is something to consider if you're mixing light sources, say, using a flash along with monolights.

Check out the flash and lighting sections of our 2013 Buyer's Guide online for a variety of flash modifiers, monolights and more: dpmag.com/buyers-guide.


Davis & Sanford Carbonlite Transporter
SOFTWARE
You probably already have a photo organizer and processor such as Adobe Photoshop Lightroom or Apple Aperture. Your next best investment is in a specialized portrait app like Anthropics Portrait Professional or ArcSoft Perfect365. Software like this can really speed up your retouching work, removing blemishes, smoothing skin tone and even tweaking facial geometry for flattering results with just a few clicks.

TRIPOD
Here's another piece of equipment you may already own, but if not, you're going to need a tripod. Look for one that's lightweight and easy to adjust like the Davis & Sanford Carbonlite Transporter. Another key consideration is that the tripod's head have a quick-release plate in case you want to take the camera off the tripod to try interesting angles on your subject. Learn more about the newest tripods and camera supports at dpmag.com/supports.

Resources
ArcSoft
www.arcsoft.com

Davis & Sanford (Tiffen
)
www.tiffen.com

Paul C. Buff
www.paulcbuff.com

Interfit Photographic
www.interfitphotographic.com

Portrait Professional
www.portraitprofessional.com

Sigma
www.sigmaphoto.com

Tamron
www.tamron-usa.com

Westcott
www.fjwestcott.com

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