Learn the simple lighting techniques behind these stunning portraits.
Creating soft, flattering lighting for portrait photography couldn’t be easier. In this portrait photography class, Karl shows you how to create a beautiful contoured lighting effect using just two lights.
In this class:
- How to use softboxes for portrait photography
- How to create soft light using studio lights
- Two-light setup ideas for portrait photography
- How to use reflectors to create additional fill light and control shadows
- How to control light in a small studio
I used two large softboxes for this shoot, knowing I wanted to create a soft, flattering lighting. Although softboxes are renowned for producing soft lighting, this only works when they’re used in the correct position.
I started by placing a softbox either side of my model, angled inwards. Placing them in such a way allowed me not only to control the contouring on the model’s face, but also the amount of light that spilled onto the background.
For this shoot we were working in a small studio, which meant there was a lot of light bouncing around. To control the light in a small studio, I recommend darkening your walls and ceiling when needed. This can be done by having dark material covering the walls (such as curtains or drapes) or by simply painting the walls (as we’d done for this shoot).
Limited to only two lights, I decided to use a reflector to soften the shadows and add some extra light on the left side of the model’s face. I tried a white fill card and silver reflector to see which result I preferred, eventually opting for the softer white reflector.
This lighting setup shows just how effective a simple lighting setup with softboxes can be. By positioning the softboxes correctly and taking the time to adjust them and add a reflector, I was able to create a really striking series of images with just two lights and affordable modifiers.
The final image:
If you’re looking for more softbox lighting setup ideas, be sure to check out:
Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.