Portrait Photography Lighting Tips

August 23, 2018

portrait photography lighting tips

One of the biggest challenges in today’s photography scene is finding new ways to create unique portraits. Many photographers are finding themselves needing to experiment with different light forms, playing with colors, shadows, and a mixture of both. However, we know most photographers are minimalists - meaning they want the least amount of gear with the biggest impact - and want compact lights that are as versatile as they are portable. That’s why Fujifilm X Photographer and Litra Ambassador Tim Moolman, who typically uses a smaller camera system and hates adding unnecessary weight to his camera bag, chooses Litra Gear. Check out Tim’s portraits below and learn 3 easy lighting tips to help you capture stunning creative portraits.

1. Try Multiple Lights

One easy way to get more creative with your portrait photography is by incorporating multiple lights. This allows you to balance out shadows, create striking color combinations, and add more depth to your photos. By testing different settings and angles for each LitraTorch, you’ll find out what combinations work best for your portrait photography style. It may take a few tries to nail your perfect lighting setup, but there’s nothing better than that aha! moment once you do!

portrait photography lighting tips

2. Adjust Light Output, Temperature, & Direction

Some of the most crucial factors in portrait photography lighting are brightness, direction, and color temperature. The four images below are all taken of the same model during the same shoot, yet each convey a much different feeling. Tim achieves this by playing not only with the Lumen output of the Torches (with or without diffusers), but also with colors and color temperature using the Photo Filter Set. For example Image #1 is much warmer than Image #2 because the Torch is being used with a warmer Rosco Tungsten filter. In addition to brightness and color, adjusting the physical positioning of the your Torches can help you create a softer or more dramatic look. Depending on what you are aiming to achieve, try placing the light directly to the side of your model (Image #3) for a split effect or on the backside of your model (Image #4) for a halo effect.

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3. Engage The Model

One technique Tim has used in his portrait photography is engaging the model by having them hold one or two lights. This is especially helpful in one-on-one sessions or in last-minute shoots when you may not have a team around to help you. Have your model hold a LitraTorch or two on high output for dramatic lighting or keep it on low with a diffuser and use it as a fill light. Cropping or photoshopping can easily be done in post-production to remove the lights.

creative portrait photography lighting tips

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Recommended Products

These are the Litra products used by this photographer. Click below for more information on each of the products they use. The full range of Litra products include lights, mounts, and accessories. 







To shop all Litra products click HERE.