- One Light Portrait Photography: A Beginner's Guide to Simple Studio Portraits with Minimal Equipment
- Lighting for Digital Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots (Using Flash and Natural Light for Portrait, Still Life, Action, and Product Photography)
- Light It, Shoot It, Retouch It: Learn Step by Step How to Go from Empty Studio to Finished Image
When I first started taking portraits of my friends with a beginner camera and a 50mm lens, everything seemed really complicated. I would get the nice bokeh that separated the subject from the background, but most of the photos still looked flat and boring, even though I’m lucky to have photogenic friends.
Of course what I didn’t know at the time was that it takes a lot more than a camera and a good looking model to capture a good portrait that will leave an impression on people.
The opposite of a flat, dull picture is one that has depth and in order to add depth to your photos you need to learn a few things about light.
Ambient light is one of my favorite types of light, but most of the times it is fairly flat and uninteresting. So to get passed that limitation, I took to the studio and started photographing my friends with controlled light. Naturally the first few setups were horrible and I would get some really bad looking shadows that made me miss ambient light. But gradually I started learning how to combine studio lights, starting with just one flash. Today I get asked a lot about how to create depth in a portrait using just one light source. The key to that is very simple and it’s a heritage from Da Vinci himself: put your light source at 45 degrees from the model and you will see the results starting to show.
After you learn to use the basic one light setup, move on to two, three or as many as you can handle. Creating depth and shape in portrait photography is all about understanding basic physics and practicing a lot.
Here is a very useful video from a webinar by PhotoVideoEDU Program.