We (Emma and I) had been viewing several online videos describing different light setups to create portraits.
One that we liked in particular is The classic three light studio portrait from Pro photo life. Jim Talkington has made several great videos you can find in their video library section.
The three light setup we were going to do would be something like illustrated below.
- One main light at 45/45 (meaning at a 45 degree angle to the camera and pointing down at a 45 degree angle). This main light will be setup to create Rembrandt lighting.
- One reflector for fill in to minimize the contrast.
- One hair light positioned opposite the main light.
- One background light to create separation between the subject and the background.
For each step (inspired by the video) we are taking a single shot to show the progress.
First we position the main light to create a Rembrandt style portrait.
Second we add the reflector on the right side of the subject. After adding the reflector the contrast can be modified by simply turning the main light. If more light fall on the reflector the contrast will decrease. If less light falls on the reflector (or the distance is increased) the contrast is increased.
Third we add the hair light opposite the main light also pointing down 45 degrees.
And last but not least we are adding the background light to create separation between the subject and the backdrop. In this case the backdrop is a grayish muslin but it could be a painted wall or paper as well.
After final light is placed and lights are adjusted the little model of course had to dash off to get a touch of makeup on. So after a good half hour of rummaging around the bathroom I was allowed to take a few more photos.
This setup can be adjusted to fit the subject(s) by fine tuning each light. The setup we did here is pretty sturdy and will give repeatable and consistent results. Now that we have the setup up and running I am planning to put a few markers to indicate where to position the lights in the future making the setup quick to establish next time an opportunity comes knocking on the door :-)