Intrigue In The Abbey

Want your subject to shine, and your background to fade into the shadows? Make it happen by positioning your subject in a brighter patch of light and exposing for his or her skin. This portrait was taken while I was waiting to photograph a prom in an abbey. The room we were in was pleasant enough. However, as a portrait photographer I want your eyes to be drawn straight to my subject’s face, not what’s behind them. Lighting their face …

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 wear it in some of his portraits. As well as turning up with a perfect accessory, Bruno was good-looking and relaxed. Sometimes, life is just too easy! Read on to find out how I used a single studio light to capture this James Dean-esque portrait of him. There’s just a single light used …

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’ on your subject’s face, helping you to flatter their face shape. It’s worth learning these traditional lighting patterns for several reasons. Firstly, they are a good starting point when you’re new to studio lighting and trying to figure out where to put your lights. Secondly, being able to identify a lighting pattern teaches you to look for highlights and …

Rembrandt Portrait Lighting

There are locations for portraits everywhere – even in an alleyway. This is how I created a dramatic shot in a local alley by overpowering the ambient light. If you think there are no good locations for portraits near you, think again. Even an alleyway can be the backdrop for an effective image, just like this portrait of Katalin in one of the curved pathways between streets in Haddenham. Here’s how I used a single Speedlight flash to light it …

Foundations: Using Studio Flash

Natural light is variable and impossible to control, whereas artificial light provides a consistent and adjustable light source. You don’t have to wait for the right time of day, or for the weather to clear, if you have studio flash or flash guns. Learning to use studio lighting is also great training for on location shooting – visualise where you would place the lights in a studio and find ways to replicate that with whatever light you have available to …