Studio lighting: painting with light

Once discovered, studio lighting can become a photographer’s best friend. With studio lighting, you are no longer having to wait for golden hour or the perfect cloudy day to capture your subject, you can recreate perfect lighting any time of the day or night with a little bit of knowledge and practice. As a photographer who loved shooting outdoor portraits, once I begin to understand the extent of control and possibilities of controlled lighting setups, I was hooked!

With studio lighting, a photographer can literally “paint” his or her subject with light and shadows. By deciding where on the subject you want a shadow to fall and choosing the right type of light source, the manipulation of light and shadows on your subject is endless. And even more importantly for a beginning studio photographer, it is predictable and repeatable. Light travels in a straight line until it hit something where it is either absorbed or reflected.

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How to Use Sunset Lighting for Light Portraits

use the sun as a side light for portrait photography

Don’t forget that the sunset lighting (being our most perfect light source) can be more than your key light in your portraits. The sun can act as a back light, rim light, side light, really any of your light sources typically used in the studio. It is all about placement and diffusion.

Sunset lighting is arguably the most beautiful time of day for portraits. But you don’t want to simply take your subject outside and start shooting. Take a few moments to identify “how” to use your light and your portraits will be dreamy.

Here are three ways you can use the light by setting your subject in relationship to the setting sun for perfect sunset lighting. Continue…