Portrait Photography and Lighting

If someone asks, “how important is lighting for photography?” then they are asking the wrong question. Lighting is photography. The word literally translates to “drawing with light”. There is no photography without light, and there is terrible photography with the wrong light.

Arranging and using the right light is the core of the photography business. This is why professional lights are an important part of every photography studio. It is also the reason why most photographers wait for hours when they want to shoot with natural light.

Just as with every other photograph, lighting is crucial for portrait photography as well. No matter how good the camera is and how much you rehearse the pose, without proper light, the portrait will never be as beautiful as you imagined.

Natural Light vs. Studio Light

One major difference between portraits and other photographs is that portraits are rarely shot with natural light. With portraits, a background and proper lighting equipment is the usual set up.

It is important for photo studios that specialize in portraits, to have the proper lighting equipment and expertise in lighting a portrait. The correct equipment and skills of lighting can be properly gauged at events.

Unlike the controlled environment of a studio, events have their own light and arrangements. Professional photographers need to plan their photography sessions adjusting to the existing layout. Something that the pros at Grins 2 Go understand and employ in the diverse array of events they cover.

Portrait Lighting Setups

The photographer needs to know more about the portrait setups than the people being photographed. That being said, a simple understanding of different setups will help you understand what kind of portrait you actually want.

There are six common portrait setups:

1. Broad Lighting

2. Short Lighting

3. Butterfly Lighting

4. Split Lighting

5. Rembrandt Lighting

6. Loop Lighting

Every type of lighting gives the portrait a different feel and has its own merit. Butterfly lighting is more flattering for subjects with thin faces and prominent cheekbones. While loop or split lighting would go great with broader faces.

Importance of the Right Lighting

Whether you are going for a portrait, or taking a picture with your phone, lighting is the key to having a great photograph. The right light will not just let you take a clear photograph; it will help you enhance the feel of the image.

A painting is different from a photograph because in painting, you can enhance some elements and subdue others. This is important to draw focus on the elements of your choice. Lighting does this service for photography.

With the right lighting, you can enhance certain characteristics of the subject while darkening the others. In portraits, the right lighting can portray impressions of power, joy and beauty. This is what’s used for projecting the strength of a seasoned CEO, or pure happiness of a family portrait.

Whether you are taking the shots yourself, or you have a pro taking them for you, understand the power of lighting in the photograph. This can be the difference between just another photo and a beautiful work of art.

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