As a studio photographer, your goal is to take the best pictures possible. While you can have the best backdrop, the perfect subject, and the highest quality camera equipment, if you don’t have the right studio lighting, your pictures are going to be lacking.
The key to taking great studio photos lies in the lighting. With the right lighting, you can turn even the most mundane subject and blah background into a stunning work of art. But, how do you get the right lighting?
Whether you’re just getting into studio photography or you’ve got more experience under your belt and you’re looking for some new techniques, here’s a look at some simple led studio lighting tips that will really make your studio portraits pop.
Light Source = Background
It may sound a little crazy, but what’s really crazy is that it really works!
Grab a large soft box light, put it in back of your model, and set it so that it will fire at full power using your 12 volt portable power pack. Grab two white bounce cards that are roughly the same size as the soft box and situate them so that they are as close to the subject as possible, at 45-degree angles. The cards will bounce light back onto your model.
Basically, the soft box and the two bounce cards should be arranged so that they essentially create a 3-sided box. You want to keep as much light in the box as possible in order to use it as a background. You won’t believe how incredibly easy it is, and how amazing the results will be.
Give Rim Lighting a Try
If you want to really make your models stand out, rim lighting will give them some extra pop.
First, set up a standard 2-light, 45-degree setup. Next, add in two extra lights with a strip soft box on either side of your model. If you don’t have four lights, you don’t have to run out and buy two more; you can get the same effect by using reflective bounce cards in place of the two main lights. Set up so that the light from the strip boxes bounces back onto your model. Doing so will fill in any shadows.
Rim lighting creates a really cool, dramatic look that will make your models stand out.
Grab Some Gel!
Want to make your photos look absolutely amazing with virtually no effort? Grab some gel and put it onto your background light. There are dozens of ways you can use a background light to make your photos pop, but this is definitely one of the easiest tricks, and the effect is just incredible.
What’s a gel, you ask? It’s a piece of colored, transparent plastic. When you place it on top of a light, it chances the color it casts. Gels are really cheap and there are so many things you can do with them, like putting them on your background light.
This neat little trick will instantly transform a bland background, making your photos pop. The results of using a gel on your background light are really quite fantastic.
Feather the Lights
If you want to use a dark background, you have to avoid light spill in order to keep your background dark. When light spills out onto a black background, for example, instead of looking black when you take your photo, it will look gray.
With this easy trick, you will be able to light the model the same way that you normally would, but you’ll really reduce the amount of light spill.
How do you feather lights? Place the lights a bit closer to your model than you normally would, and a bit off to his or her. Situate the lights so that they are pointing inwards and only the edge of the light reaches your subject; basically, the lights should be in front of your model and facing each other. With this setup, the majority of the light will go in front of your model. You might want to make some adjustments to your exposure, but the effect will really do wonders.
When you use this setup, you’ll see that all of the light spillage is off of your background, and your background will remain dark, just like you want it to.
So, there you have it; some simple tips that offer outstanding results and will really make your photos pop. Give them a try and you will be amazed by just how incredible your photos will look with studio lights.