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Tips on Lighting Required for Portrait Photography

Saptakee Sengupta Jan 9, 2019
Light is the most important aspect of photography. Photography is an art and light is its touchstone. The title on "Photography Tips - Lighting", will capture your interest all throughout.
It is a sultry Sunday. You are lounging on the sofa, watching a show or a movie, and suddenly, you are reminded of your days in college. The fun, frolic, that exciting phase of your life that has given you everything you enjoy now. And you reflect on the two major elements you had in your life back then; Friends, and fun.
Snapping back to reality, you realize that you have left that life in the pursuit of happiness and something more fulfilling. Your friends are enmeshed in their own lives now. And your eyes turn towards a dusty, unkempt album on the far end of the bookshelf.
As you sift through the familiar faces in these photographs, you remember why you carried a camera around everywhere you went. You wanted to capture that perfect moment in a photograph that would remind you, for you to relive those moments. And today, those very images add smiles to your dreary life.
Photography in simple words is just - "CLICK the image", but technically, photography has lots more to offer. Perfect light, angle and time are hallmarks of good photography. Lighting determines the mood of the photograph or the video shot. Right use of light reflects your innate creativity. A video or a picture is alive only through good photography skills.

Photography Tips on Lighting

Appropriate use of light is one of the most important factors that determines the quality of the picture. It can be awesome, spectacular, dramatic or terrific. The camera has an inbuilt light meter that measures how much light is being reflected to the camera.
Automatic adjustment of aperture and shutter speed enables the camera to measure the amount of light reflected and thus the clarity of the picture.

Source of Light

The quality of the picture resolved depends upon the source of light. The source can be natural like the sun or artificial like constant light sources, strobes and different types of light sources used in studios.
The effect of rays of light is spectacular. A setting sun, sun rays cascading through windows create impressive pictures with intelligent use of lights. Use of brighter light from behind the object creates silhouettes. You can simply experiment with different types of light in order to get different images with different effect.

Angle of Light

Angle of light is a very important for achieving special effects in the photographs. Half cast shadow, full bright, dimmed low, back lighting, front lighting, side exposures, diffused light, etc are a few examples of importance of adjusting the angle of light.

Camera Exposure

The time of camera exposure depends on the shutter speed and the aperture speed. To get a good resolution there should be a narrow aperture and slow shutter speed. Increase the exposure time to get a clear image.
For example, a camera with a high f/stop (depth of field) aperture value and low shutter speed 1/X (secs) gives a good resolution. f number determines the amount of light entering the aperture and the time of exposure of the shutter is denoted by seconds.

Film Speed

Film speed is one of the important parameters in determining the quality of a picture. The sensitivity of light towards the photographic film determines the film speed. ISO system has been introduced to measure the film speed.
Higher the film speed, higher the sensitivity. But a high film speed (high ISO value) results in poor quality of the image.

Portrait Photography Tips

Behavior of light, intensity, brightness and contrast are the important parameters for portrait photography lighting. Controlling the intensity and brightness can be done in studios with the help of strobes.
There are devices such as gobos, snoots, scrims, grid spots and barn doors, which can direct the light according to the need of the photographer and create different effects. The light's color temperature is also one of the factors governing portrait photography.

Digital Photography Tips

Contrast of the image is dependent on the size of light source and the distance from the object. These are the basic know-how of portrait photography. However it is always best to LEARN photography tricks from a professional photographer.
Digital photography also has the same basic principles of lighting. Know to handle the camera with subtlety and use your creative skills to get a good resolution. The tips and tricks are simple. Know the buttons, adjust the techniques and click.
Photography is a passion and its outcome is perfection. Focus light in different ways and explore your creative instincts. That's why the famous photographer Aaron Siskind says "Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever...
"....it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything." SMILE PLEASE!