Studio Lighting

If you’ve got a studio, then poor weather or the onset of night need never stop you shooting. However, even if you don’t have access to a studio, learning studio lighting will improve your available light and location light portraits. Simply visualise where you would place the lights in a studio setting, then find ways to replicate that with whatever light you have available to you.

One-light low key studio portrait

You’ve got one light. One subject dressed in dark clothing. And one dark paper background. All the ingredients for a perfect low key portrait. This...

Action gymnast portrait in the studio

There’s specific studio lighting know-how you’ll need if you want to try your hand at catching an athlete mid-air with an arc of powder around ...

Sculpting Faces With Shadow

Shadows give your portraits a sense of depth and shape. Here’s how to achieve the ‘Rembrandt’ lighting pattern, and turn a grey background to...

Teenager Headshots

  Of all the age groups I photograph, teenagers are by far my favourite. They are at their physical peak, and often walk in full of attitude, which...

Traditional Lighting Patterns

These are the traditional lighting set-ups that studio photographers used to be taught as standard. The set-ups create different ‘light patterns...

How To Feather Studio Light

Sometimes a gentle, subtle portrait is the best representation of your subject. Here I used feathered, low key lighting and a narrow tonal range to...

A Cover Story

The cover of Mastering Portrait Photography features a portrait of young Ben (who is now a professional rower!). Here’s the story behind our most...

Sensual Portraits

Sensual portraits tease the viewer’s imagination. Learn why it’s best not to reveal too much, and how to feather your studio lights for super sof...

Hollywood Glamour Portrait

The pros and cons of working with a beauty dish, and how to use subtractors to reduce the amount of light bounced around in a white-walled studio. ...

Low Key Hair Salon Portraits

Sometimes you’re aiming for a specific look, but your subject arrives wearing something that doesn’t align with your vision. Here, I had been p...

Channeling James Dean

Bruno walked into my studio wearing his leather jacket. It appealed to me from a photographic point of view and I instantly knew I wanted him to we...

One-Light Studio Portrait

Often, the simplest things are the best. Here’s how you can replicate my go-to studio set-up to get flattering lighting and shaping shadow in you...

Beautiful, Studio-Lit Stranger

There’s only one complete stranger that I’ve approached, asking her out-of-the-blue if I could photograph her: that’s Dory, who you see here. Soft ...

High Key Striplight Portrait

Can you shoot a pale subject on a pale background? Yes, you can, if you control your lights. Here’s how I used strip lights for this studio portr...