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-   -   what lighting to use for portraits (

aladyforty Oct 25, 2004 10:49 AM

What is the most flattering lighting for portraits? Is there an unflattering lighting eg that makes wrinkles stand out more etc. Ive noticed sometimes I can take a shot that ages a person more than they look in real life. Also I noticed natural outdoor light is less likely to cause this problem. any Ideas for indoor photography lighting welcome:-)

Setiprime Oct 25, 2004 12:11 PM

Go to your local Police station, they do portraits all the time (tongue-in-cheek reply).

cameranserai Oct 25, 2004 1:13 PM

Bounce flash, not direct, and buy a "soft" filter. This will make the image look ethereal and ever so slightly fuzzy, but removes all the crows feet and lines. I assume you have an SLR since getting a decent portrait with a point-and-press is not going to be an easy task at all

Oct 25, 2004 1:30 PM

Have you looked at the links on portrait lighting on the first post in the Flash Studio Forum?

Freefly Oct 25, 2004 1:57 PM

Softbox Softbox Softbox Softbox Softbox Softbox Softbox Softbox ...... and Softbox!

aladyforty Oct 25, 2004 9:42 PM

Kalypso wrote:

Have you looked at the links on portrait lighting on the first post in the Flash Studio Forum?

no but Im going to.:-)

NHL Oct 25, 2004 9:49 PM

Photoshop! Photoshop! Photoshop!


bradg Oct 25, 2004 10:30 PM

joey terrill had a breakout session atlast yearssportsshooter workshop and luau which went over over the 3 funtmenal rules of lighting, and a bunch of tips and tricks, it was one of the most educational speachs ive ever heard

i know that they had a video somewere, if you give me a second, i'll find the video, i highly recomend you watch it(i think there is more than one video)

bradg Oct 25, 2004 10:34 PM

here ya go, i found it

aladyforty Oct 26, 2004 12:08 AM

thanks for all that info, do you believe that you can actually age a person with the wrong lighting????

NHL Oct 26, 2004 6:17 AM

It's not so much the 'wrong lighting', but the 'wrong placement'!

-> if you side light a subject, the shadow will 'magnify' the impecfections of the skin ;)
Not that this technique can not be put to good use in other places like accentuating a cleavage or waist line :-):-):-)

marokero Oct 27, 2004 1:39 AM

For available light, how about something on the cheap? A white bed sheet taped to cover a sun bathed window provides an on-the spot soft-box ;) Learned that tip from Joe McNally :cool:

aladyforty Oct 27, 2004 5:58 AM

some good Ideas, thanks

flint350 Oct 27, 2004 11:05 AM

Lots of good info here already for you to research. I would just add, in answer to your original question, there are two basic things that affect flattering/unflattering images as you describe it. One, already mentioned, is light 'placement'. This generally is considered to mean the actual physical location of each light (main 45degress to one side, fill near camera axis, etc).

The other consideration is light source/size and deals with the quality of the light. This is changed by diffusing it thereby making it softer and more wrap-around with a softbox or diffusion panels. Or bouncing it off an umbrella, etc. So if you were trying to accentuate the facial lines - say for a character portrait of an old man, you could still use similar placement, but adjust the soft/hard value of the light with less or no diffusion (in other words, use a harsh light). Placement could also factor into this. There are many variables in all this - a good book on portrait lighting would be invaluable and have diagrams of light setup as examples.

LTBerry Nov 6, 2004 1:54 PM

A softbox is best. Use a big softbox as your main, and a smaller (or maybe an umbrella) as your fill. I have also triedlighting through a white umbrella as a fill. Or for a dramatic effect, don't use a fill. Maybe just a relector.

flint350 Nov 8, 2004 10:16 AM

I don't necessarily agree that a softbox is best. Diffusion panels are far more flexible and give at least as good a result and better. This is bcz you can move both the panel and the light separately for different effects. With the softbox, you have to move the whole thing (light and box) as a unit only. Plus, diffusion panels are cheaper, larger and easy to make. Pretty tough to make a decent softbox on your own. As you can tell, I'm a diffusion panel believer, though I do have and still use a softbox on my fill.

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