Portrait Photography Lighting
Portrait Photography Lighting – Light is really the raw material for a photographer. Just as the sculptor works with the stone and the painter works with the painting, the photographer works with the light. This analogy is not so precise, since, as a painter and sculptor working with tangible material substances, a photographer works with a form of energy.
By understanding the energy behavior we call light, creating a foundation for your success as a portrait photographer.
A painter may not have to know the chemical and physical properties of each component of his oils or paints, but he must understand how to mix different colors.
Moreover, the way they behave as paintings and in which they are applied to the canvas leads to practice, experience and knowledge.
Just as a sculptor or painter must acquire a masterful understanding of the physical behavior of the raw material of his chosen arts, portrait photographer must also have a lively and polished knowledge of the behavior of light.
The first prerequisite for photography is a form of light emitted by a source. Think about it, without light, photography is absolutely impossible.
The light used can be emitted from a natural source, such as the sun, or from artificial sources, such as flashing lights, or constant light source.
Portrait Photography Lighting – Strobe Lights
In 1931, Harold Edgerton, an electrical engineer at MIT, developed strobe light for a fixed photography use.
Today, strobe light is easily the most widely used light source in studio portrait photographer. Some benefits of strobe lighting for portrait and studio photography include;
Reasonably accurate control of light intensity and color temperature of light
Low heat generation relative to a constant light source
And low power consumption at the amount of light output
Probably the most important aspect of light for the portrait photographer is the actual intensity or brightness of the light.
There are some ways to control the intensity of light that impinges on the portrait or subject. In the studio, many modern flash power can be adjusted manually.
The flash may be further away from the subject or on the outside, you can take advantage of the cloud cover or protruding from a tree or a building. You can even use the time of day to control the intensity of light available on the subject.
Lighting Portrait – Light Control
These methods are effective in controlling the average or total luminosity of their composition. Many devices have been developed to control the relative intensities of light over specific areas within a photo or composition.
Devices such as gobos, meshes, snoots, barn doors and gate smears are commonly used to direct, block or otherwise control the light intensities in a particular composition.
Portrait Photography Illumination – Color Temperature
Another property of light that is of great importance to the portrait photographer is the color temperature of the lights.
The “pure” white light is the result of a balanced blend of the three primary colors being red, green and blue. In some lighting conditions (such as overcast wind compared to bright sunlight), the color mixing of the proportions may vary. Normally, our brain automatically compensates for this and will not notice the difference “temperature” when leaving one situation of light and entering another.
The film or sensors can not do the same automatic compensation, so the color temperature differences have to be adjusted manually by the photographer.
Color temperatures of different light conditions are generally indicated in degrees Kelvin. There are (if still using) three films rated at standard color temperature that is commonly used by photographers.
The film “Daylight” is made to be exposed by light of 5500K, the film “interior” is exposed to a light of 3400K and 3200K light is used for professional film “inside”.