Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Portrait Lighting 101

After recently attending the AAS Craft Fair and meeting so many people that were excited about photography I quickly became inspired to help share some of the limited knowledge that I have about the subject.  So ... here it goes ...

Svetla asked me to take a few pictures for her to use for her Linked In profile.  I took full advantage of the situation to pull out some of the basic gear and take a few pictures of her.  Here is how I did it.

Right off the bat, I went to the "classic" photographers portrait setup.  I used off camera lighting and put up an umbrella and speedlight at 45 degrees off center and raised it up to 45 degrees above her head (camera right).  I then set the power on the flash to 1/8th power and the camera to f8.0.  I was given the advise that when working in manual mode, you can generally work at mid-range power settings, apertures and ISOs in order to make things turn out just about right.  With a few minor adjustments to the flash to subject distance, this seemed to be the case.  Please note that this effect can easily be achieved with on camera flash and a white wall.  If you are interested in knowing how, just leave a message and I'd be happy to write another post about it.

I then positioned Svetla with her left shoulder pointing towards me and asked her to turn her face to the light while bringing her eyes back to me.  I played around with this position until I got the "Rembrandt" lighting on her right cheek that you see in the picture below.

For anyone who is wondering "what is he talking about, Rembrandt lighting?" you are not alone.  I had not clue what it was when I first heard of it either.  Rembrandt lighting refers to the small triangle of light that you see on  Svetla's right cheek.  It is created by using a light source that is at a 45 degree angle to your model so that just enough of the light sneaks over the subject's nose and onto their cheek. to make a triangle.  It was made famous by Rembrandt himself and is featured in many of his famous works of art.  

Well, simple as it is, that is how we took this shot.  If you have any questions or would like any followup information please leave a comment and let me know.  I'd be happy to write another post about it!  

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