Ep 313: Seven portrait lighting tricks using daylight or flash for beginners and pros

When you’re taking portraits, great lighting is essential. But sometimes you’re not blessed with perfect conditions. So what can you do to “manufacture” the ideal light for what you want to achieve? In this episode, you’ll discover seven portrait lighting tricks to use with daylight or flash, whether you’re a beginner or a pro.

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Show Notes

Listener questions

Deric Martin (Via FB GROUP)
I was wondering what portrait photographers might think about having tethered shots displayed on laptops for clients to view throughout shoots.
I can see possible pros and cons but would love to hear about some thoughts or experiences from those who have done this!

  1. Choose consistent lighting conditions and avoid dappled light
  2. Manufacture your own light
  3. Create your own lightroom/camera raw or capture one presets
  4. Don’t supply lots of different presets
  5. Assistant +scrim
  6. Fill flash
  7. Expose for highlights and open shadows in post

Seven portrait lighting tricks using daylight or flash for beginners and pros

These are my 7 favourite portrait lighting hacks that will eliminate the most common lighting problems.

1. Use a scrim/diffuser

2. Use your smartphone to find the best lighting

3. Switch off overhead lighting

4. Backlighting is your friend

Exposing for detail in the background
Exposing for detail in the skin tone
Exposing for skin tone gives a “fashion look” to this portrait
Exposing for skin tone and blowing out the highlights.

5. Side lighting adds definition and shape

Window light camera left
Side lighting
Flat lighting

How to soften a cheap modifier using a scrim

Left: image with a single diffuser
Right: image with double diffusion

6. Look for the direction of daylight

Front lighting

7. Light in the same direction as an existing light source

Fill flash is added to the image in the same direction as the sunlight

BIG LIGHT SOURCE=Soft lighting  Small light source =hard light

Soft light: Large 27 inch octa box 2 feet from model
Speedlight with no modifier approx 30 feet from model


How to direct and pose like a pro

About Gina

About Gina

Gina Milicia is one of the most widely known and respected photographers in Australia. She is the master of capturing that ‘magical moment’... READ MORE

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