Lighting Setups Any Photographer Can Use

Possessing a few easy lighting options to you is among the most crucial tricks a photographer should have in their sleeves. In this article, I’ll be sharing with you my favorite lighting arrangements for wedding photographers. However, in reality, anyone can benefit from these techniques.

Create Natural Vignette

Natural light appears amazing, but since the light is shining on the scene in a uniform manner it is revealing too much information across the entire photo and leaves the eye of the viewer wandering around. One method I like to employ when I need to draw the eye of the subject towards the bride’s gaze is to create more intense light that dries quickly at the edges. Any reflector dish or grid can create this look, but in this case, I chose to use Profoto’s Profoto Clic Magnum and Grid. The Magnum lets the light remain strong and bright, and the grid reduces the light source and creates the natural vignette effect.

This setup is also useful for when you need to illuminate several people since you can position the strobe farther away, while also illuminating a wider area. Be aware that whenever you shoot using any hard source of light, you must look at your screen from a distance and make sure you are comfortable with the position of the shadows that appear on the face of your subject. Moving a flash using grid or reflector only one inch to the left or right could result in an enormous difference in the shadows reflected from the eyelashes, nose and the the chin.

Going Hollywood

In this shoot I was able to make use of a light modifier I’ve never tried on site prior to this shoot: The Clic Fresnel. Much like the Magnum which I previously mentioned this one, the Fresnel actually boosts the brightness of your flash by one stop or two, and helps direct the light onto your subject. This produces a kind of highlight effect that could be like those classic Hollywood portraits of the 30s and 40s.

This type of lighting is more prominent indoors, where you can create a unique shadow on your wall. I prefer this design because I’m able to always keep it within my camera bag as it’s Fresnel lens is tiny and small.

To create this look, you could apply any light modifier you wish, but in this case I chose to go with OCF Beauty Dish White. OCF Beauty Dish White because it produces beautiful soft light but nevertheless has a sharp surface around the reflection plate. I don’t employ traditional beauty dishes on location since they are extremely heavy, rigid and heavy to carry and transport, however the more I utilize the OCF disintegrable Beauty Dish and the more I believe it could be the most effective light modifier you can use during a portrait shoot. It’s definitely not the ideal size for large group shots; however, for just a couple of people in your group, it’s fast becoming my preferred light modifier.

Light From Above

Each of the lighting arrangements described above depend on having your lighting in a standard place. The most pleasing and reliable position of your strobe is usually approximately 45 degrees to either side and just a few feet higher than the person’s nose. But what if you wish to create something with an entirely different look and overall look? In this set-up I’ve used a bigger three-foot OCF Softbox Octa placed directly above my subject to create a more playful and cinematic lighting.

Because the softbox remains fairly big, the light that is projected down appears soft and flattering to it. By just adjusting the distance away from where the light is located, it is possible to add the amount or decrease of light to the face of your subject. This is a great technique to stop powerful color casts resulting from sunlight bouncing off foliage or even trees.

Gelled Two-Light Setup

Although I am a sucker for taking photos at beautiful natural settings, some of my top portfolio shots were shot in bustling streets where bright city lights could spill over the photo. When shooting on street scenes, I typically need to use a powerful backlighting to make my subject pop out of the background.

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