Top 5 Portrait Photography Lighting Tips [Video]

Here is a quick portrait photography lighting tutorial from Ed Verosky for those who are just starting with their portrait photography career. In this video he lists out 5 simple tips that could make your portraits much more professional looking. Hopefully some of this will make sense to you and come in handy as you learn more about portrait photography.

Five Portrait Photography Lighting Tips:

  1. Start with one Light. In any portrait photography lighting setup the most important light is your main light / key light. It defines a predominant pattern of light and shadow on your subject.
  2. Get your flash off your camera. For example position the flash at 45 degree to one side of the subjects head and angled down about 45 degrees, which is a great way to start. You’ll have to remotely trigger the flash and has to decide whether to put the flash in TTL or manual mode. Getting your flash away from your camera is going to make a world of difference in your flash portrait photography lighting.
  3. Use constant light when you can. Flash doesn’t have to be considered the default go to type of light and its not always the best light to use. Constant light sources like natural light or interior ambient lighting often give us the most natural – real world looking light for portraits. Constant light source can be a lot easier to work with than flash because you can see how the light affects the subject in real time. Natural light can produce so much more pleasing quality to the portraits than using a flash.
  4. Use manual camera and flash settings. This doesn’t apply to every situation. But for indoor static portraiture when you have someone posing, you’ll be able to get controlled and consistent results if you use manual settings. For most of the indoor flash portraiture manual is the way to go.
  5. Keep the light above the subject’s head. This applies to the main light and it applies whether you are using on camera or remote flash or ambient light. Unless you are trying to create an under lighting effect for some reason, make sure the light is coming towards your subject from some point above their face. Try to avoid strong light coming in from below the face, any thing that sense the shadows up from the nose doesn’t usually flatter the subject.

Ed has listed only 5 portrait photography lighting tips in this video aiming at the amateurs. But these valuable tips are definitely going to make a difference in your portrait photography.

You could find more similar videos in Ed Verosky’s YouTube Channel. Check here for more photography tutorials.

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