Looking to create some moody, depth-filled portrait images? Here’s an easy guide to setting up the lighting to get you your shot.
That’s where Mango Street arrive to save the day with their latest video guiding you through seven easy studio lighting setups sure to make your portrait photography pop! Watch as they break down and show how simple changes to your studio lighting can transform your portrait photography and help you to achieve your desired effect. For this example, they have solely used continuous lighting, but feel free to add strobes for effect.
Let’s jump right in…
Named after the shadow effects created on your subjects face, look for a butterfly-shaped shadow under their nose and you’ll know you’re lighting is set up correctly. Butterfly Lighting creates a lighting effect that is flattering for almost every face and helps to create rather dramatic shadows under the cheeks, nose, and chin. To create this effect, simply place your light above your subject and be sure to point it down at them.
Named for of the small circles of light cast across your subjects face, Loop Lighting starts much the same as the above-mentioned Butterfly Lighting. Unlike Butterfly Lighting where the light source is placed directly above your subject, Loop Lighting is achieved by moving your light source to either the left or right of your subject until you see a shadow appear on the opposite side of their nose.
Just think the master of drama when it came to painting, that’s the feeling you’re looking for when attempting this one.
Set up wise, this dramatic lighting effect can be achieved by a slight rearrangement of your Loop Lighting setup. Both a steeper angle and a further push to the left or right (dependant on which side of your subjects face you are looking to highlight) will help you to create the moody shadows that allow this lighting technique to borrow the name of a master.
This is pretty self-explanatory, as the name suggests this technique focuses on creating a dramatic effect by splitting the light to one side of your subject. Simply place your light on one side of your subject, leaving the other side of their face to pick up all of those delicious shadows in your portrait photography.
This technique works perfectly when you need to create definition between your subject and your backdrop (should you be using one, that is) allowing your subject to pop off their background. This technique does call for two separate light sources, one used to light your subject from the front and a smaller one placed behind your subject and angled up towards the back of their head.
As the name suggests, this lighting technique is used to light the broad side of your subject’s face. This can be achieved by placing your lighting source to the left or right of your subject and tilting it down at them. Then ask your subject to turn their body away from the light and be sure to face the camera.
As the name suggests, this lighting technique is the opposite of the above (Broad Lighting) and simply put can be achieved by reversing the steps listed above. So have your subject turn their body towards the light and you’ll see the broad side of their face will be thrown into shadows.
Now all that’s left for you to do is to play around with your lighting set up and test all of the new techniques you’ve learnt from Mango Street’s informative tutorial video. For more inspiration and helpful how-to’s be sure to subscribe to their YouTube channel and you’ll never miss a learning opportunity again.