Self-portraits are not easy. They’re hard mentally and emotionally for myriad reasons, and they’re hard physically (especially if you don’t use an assistant). Lighting doesn’t have to be difficult, though. On the contrary, lighting your self-portrait should be a fun challenge. I’m going to outline some ways I’ve lit my own self-portraits to give you a good foundation.
My first paying gig as a photographer was shooting headshots of doctors at a medical convention, packed into a tiny corner of a trade show booth. Back then I didn’t quite understand the impact that type of situation would have on my methods of lighting. Every technique I developed over the next decade was based around learning to shoot a great, professional portrait quickly and in just about any location. I’ve since refined the process, and have found that most of my lighting for high-volume headshots can be categorized into three main techniques.
We are currently going through a lighting revolution. Off-camera flash technology is progressing quickly. The technology for low-noise, high-ISO sensors has improved over the past five years. Flashes are becoming less expensive and coming with more features. If you are not using off-camera flash, there has never been a better time to start. Here are a few of my recommendations for equipment.
As a photographer known for my creative use of small “pocket” flashes, I long resisted transitioning into the world of larger studio strobes. But I did my research and became intrigued by Phottix's system. If you shoot like I do, Phottix may be your ideal all-in-one setup for powerful, portable destination photography.
If you’re overwhelmed by the technical side of lighting, don’t fear. You can try these simple approaches to wedding day lighting. As with every part of the wedding day, I apply in-studio lighting techniques to my photographs using my keylight (the main light), hair light (light that separates the subject from the background) and fill light (fills in the shadows). The mood I want to create changes throughout the day as the story I am telling changes, so my light sources vary from natural to artificial.
In beauty light, there are several tried and true tools and techniques guaranteed to create gorgeous light every time. In this article, I demonstrate the basics of beauty lighting, lighting pattern and fill light options, introducing accent lights and best tools and techniques to get the job done right.
Why do we covet those last few minutes of light at the end of the day? Obviously, the golden light is much easier to work with. It’s the beauty and versatility of the light that we cherish. Most importantly, it provides us more options for creatively capturing our couple’s love story. The key to successful wedding portraiture at golden hour is flexibility.
Recently I had the honor of working with and photographing the beautiful Bella. I met Bella and her family at ShutterFest 2017. She was one of the models for the event. At the time, I didn’t have a chance to work with her one on one, but I knew I wanted to spend some time and try some new concepts with her.
I have always had a great love and appreciation for water in all its forms, whether it’s the vast ocean or a calm inviting sea. My love for the tranquil visuals of water led me to underwater photography.
Including pets in your portrait sessions is a smart way to add variety, additional income and a hearty challenge. While I am not suggesting that every portrait photographer needs to become a pet photographer, including furry family members in your work is a fun way to expand your offerings.