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 portrait of Lizzie. A fair-skinned subject in a white top on a white background? Common portrait wisdom states that it shouldn’t be done, but I disagree. White-on-white fails when you throw uncontrolled light all over the scene, losing shadow, definition and detail. Instead, control your lights and your exposure carefully for a high …

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. The hardest part of capturing this portrait was stopping Meg from laughing as we took it. Meg is our studio assistant (and all-round superstar), and is normally on the other side of the camera. This shot came about because Meg asked me to capture matching shots of Meg and her mum lit in …

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 capture a studio portrait of a young woman, Julia, wearing a hat. Low key lighting refers to the predominance of dark tones and shadow areas in an image. This lighting style can be more atmospheric and give a greater sense of depth and shape than high key lighting; a good shoot/portfolio will include a mix …

Foundations: Working With Natural Light

Working With Natural Light Natural light is freely available, requires little or no kit, and comes in enough different forms to keep your portraits looking varied for many years to come. In fact, many professional photographers use natural light exclusively. Of course, this comes with as many challenges as benefits, with the weather, intensity of the light and time of day being just a few of the variables you’ll need to consider. You’ll need sufficient light on your subject’s face …

Foundations: Accessories For Portrait Photographers

Once you’ve got your camera and lens choice sorted, there are optional accessories to consider. In addition, if you are shooting professionally, you need to consider having spares of your entire kit. Although this may seem like an unreasonable additional outlay, cameras, lenses and supplementary kit can occasionally fail, and if you are photographing portraits that can’t easily be re-shot, then you could be risking your professional reputation if you don’t have back-ups. In addition, … To get access, you …

Video: Fun, beautiful and characterful portraits of sibling groups

We’ve created this video in response to a question on one of our forum threads: how do you capture life, laughter and interesting images when working with children? The MPP team sent me on a shoot with 10-year-old George and his 6-year-old twin brothers, Alfie and Freddie, with a brief to capture six very different images: one of each of the boys alone, one of the twins, and at least two of all three siblings together. On the day of …