Portrait photography is both fun and exciting. A lot of photographers find studio work to be difficult, mostly because they are intimated by using studio strobes. However, as you will see below, it's not that complicated if you stick to process.
The details of a wedding reception are often the touches that distinguish a wedding and show the unique personality of the bride. From the flowers harvested from her sister's personal greenhouse to the heirloom mismatched china to the handmade, DIY, clock-themed centerpieces... this is her chance to show off her creative side and make the reception unique to her, her family and friends, and her relationship with the groom.
As photographers in today’s world, we have so many options. We have strobes, natural light, constant light, reflectors. We have differing modifiers like octaboxes, softboxes, beauty dishes, strip boxes, umbrellas, gels and so on. There are lighting setups with five, six, seven, eight or more lights. The subject of lighting is endless. With so many possibilities, it can be overwhelming.
Ultimately, the lighting you choose to go with creates the mood of your photograph and showcases your style and vision. The more you experiment and add new techniques to your lighting toolbox, the more stunning your lighting will be!
In many circles throughout the world, people debate about what kind of lighting makes the best photographs. Hard light, soft light, natural light, strobes, LEDs…
Lighting is the foundation of a photographic composition. Photographers who are skilled in lighting can offer their clients flattering portraits no matter what environment they are working in. In the old days, lighting was just something that photographers understood. However, during the digital revolution, as cameras became more intuitive, people were able to obtain exposures much more easily by utilizing the automatic functions in their cameras.
From a professional point of view, understanding light and being able to execute your vision 'at will' despite the time of day or the location makes you an incredible asset to your client. Light is both an art and a craft. This broad spectrum can make lighting a daunting task to learn and teach. However, one simple philosophy of light can help clarify everything. There's good lighting, there's bad lighting, then there's the RIGHT lighting to help express the emotion you want.
High key lighting is a highly sought after and easy to create technique when you know how to do it. In this month's feature, I’ll show you how to create beautiful high key lighting on a low budget. I’ll take a reductionist approach, walking you step by step from the most complex, pro level, gear-intensive method, to a great 50% midway point, and then to our final 1-light method, the subject of this month’s tutorial.
Successfully controlling the harsh light from the sun requires two inexpensive tools: a diffusion panel to soften the light and one or more reflectors to bounce light, fill in unwanted shadows, and create accent light. Both of these tools are available in a wide variety of models, build qualities, features, sizes, and price points. The good news is you can pick up basic models of both tools that do the job well for around $100. Not too bad for professional location lighting! Ideally you’ll also want a light-duty stand to use with the reflector and a sandbag or two to keep things stable in the event of windy conditions.
All in all the shoot came together really well and my client couldn’t be happier. Bringing your client’s concepts to life doesn't have to be complicated or onerous. The key is good communication, a clear idea of what you’re trying to accomplish going in, and a simple, effective lighting plan. My advice is always to keep it uncomplicated and creative. Keep your eyes and ears open and always think about what you’re not seeing. The final you’re seeing here isn’t where I started out during this shoot. It’s easy to miss something potentially great when you’re in the shooting bubble. In my experience, the strongest image may not be the one you’re shooting but something still unseen and undiscovered. Stop, look around, reframe. You’ll be surprised at the hidden gems just waiting for you!