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Portrait lighting

  
 
ge47rd
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Portrait lighting


Anyone have any tips/recommendations on how to achieve great lighting setups for portraits? Goal is to have small/simple kit to use for family portraits in a non studio environment. Looking for something easy to setup and not easy to break (have two young boys). Iíve always just used natural light but curious what a nice light would do for my portraits.


Feb 17, 2024 at 04:02 AM
story_teller
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Portrait lighting


Read this and it will provide some of the info youíre looking for.

https://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/03/lighting-101.html

This blog provides many answers to the questions you have and is a great place to start!



Feb 17, 2024 at 08:28 AM
hiepphotog
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Portrait lighting


Itís so much easier now to learn than ever with affordable lighting solution from Godox and others from China. I personally recommend the Godox AD100 pro, search youtube on one-light setup. I recommend anything from Lindsay Adler or Jerry Ghionis or the Aperture series on BHphoto channel. i got the most from those. and practice as soon and as much as you can.


Feb 17, 2024 at 09:47 AM
ge47rd
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Portrait lighting



Iíll check it out! Thanks!
story_teller wrote:
Read this and it will provide some of the info youíre looking for.

https://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/03/lighting-101.html

This blog provides many answers to the questions you have and is a great place to start!




Feb 17, 2024 at 01:01 PM
ge47rd
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Portrait lighting


Thank for the recommendations!

hiepphotog wrote:
Itís so much easier now to learn than ever with affordable lighting solution from Godox and others from China. I personally recommend the Godox AD100 pro, search youtube on one-light setup. I recommend anything from Lindsay Adler or Jerry Ghionis or the Aperture series on BHphoto channel. i got the most from those. and practice as soon and as much as you can.




Feb 17, 2024 at 01:02 PM
rek101
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Portrait lighting


I think getting a strobe with a brolly box and a stand to support it is the way to go (not speedlights). I never imagined I'd like using a strobe to take photos of my four year old daughter, but every so often I break it out and the results are just so amazing. I think a single strobe (like something battery powered from godox...200 300 400 or 600) a trigger to fire it, a stand, and 4' or larger modifier would have you full of options. Even the strobe with a scrim of some kind like a large 5:1 reflector diffusion layer would be enough to produce really nice images.

I suggested the brolly box because it's the cheapest, most collapsible, and quickest to setup large modifier I know of, but kids could easy tip it over and break it. The scrim idea is probably a bit less delicate and if you already have a 5:1 reflector, there is a diffusion layer that can act as a scrim.

My setup usually is an einstein with a battery pack at about 1/4 to 1/16 power (~40 to 160 watts) shot through a room divider which is like a big scrim and I have my daughter doing something she would have been doing anyway like playing, climbing something, jumping on the bed or whatever. I find having the extra power helps because you can shoot faster and capture action with short recycle times. It's also nice to get the stand further away so there is less chance if it getting tipped over. Posed shots are also nice for family portraits, but I find the improvised stuff more interesting.




Edited on Feb 17, 2024 at 11:14 PM · View previous versions



Feb 17, 2024 at 10:44 PM
LarryBeemer
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Portrait lighting


Others have given great suggestions for a lighting kit for starters. I will address the "....and not easy to break (have two young boys)" concern. A sandbag on the base of the light stand will add quite a bit of stability for most situations. Not fool proof mind you, but much better than not having it.

©Ņ©
LB



Feb 17, 2024 at 10:53 PM
 


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ge47rd
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Portrait lighting


Thank you for the tips! I donít even know what a scrim is so I have some homework to do! I see godox is recommended a lot: have you heard if people have success ordering from their AliExpress storefront? Prices are much lower, with the trade off of no customer support and shipping from China.

rek101 wrote:
I think getting a strobe with a brolly box and a stand to support it is the way to go (not speedlights). I never imagined I'd like using a strobe to take photos of my four year old daughter, but every so often I break it out and the results are just so amazing. I think a single strobe (like something battery powered from godox...200 300 400 or 600) a trigger to fire it, a stand, and 4' or larger modifier would have you full of options. Even the strobe with a scrim of some kind like a large 5:1
...Show more



Feb 20, 2024 at 10:51 PM
jeffbuzz
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Portrait lighting


Indoors, all you need are two 100W strobes and two 36" umbrellas set at 45 degrees on either side. That will create soft, even light for an individual or small group of 3 or 4 people. Covering a larger group requires more power and larger modifiers. Outdoors you can just skip the modifiers, have your subjects with their backs to the sun and point bare bulbs straight ahead to balance the daylight.

Going beyond this simple 2 light setup can create all sorts of dynamic lighting that is definitely worth learning about. But portrait lighting 101 is even, equal and simple.



Feb 20, 2024 at 11:34 PM
docusync
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Portrait lighting


LarryBeemer wrote:
Others have given great suggestions for a lighting kit for starters. I will address the "....and not easy to break (have two young boys)" concern. A sandbag on the base of the light stand will add quite a bit of stability for most situations. Not fool proof mind you, but much better than not having it.

©Ņ©
LB


For outdoors (nature, no asphalt/concrete) I highly recommend dog stakes like this one: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt-17-in-Chrome-Plated-Tie-Out-Stake-803122/203958745 + some rope. So much lighter than a sandbag and can withstand some serious wind. It should handle two young boys just as easily



Feb 21, 2024 at 01:26 AM
rek101
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Portrait lighting


ge47rd wrote:
Thank you for the tips! I donít even know what a scrim is so I have some homework to do! I see godox is recommended a lot: have you heard if people have success ordering from their AliExpress storefront? Prices are much lower, with the trade off of no customer support and shipping from China.



I don't know anything about Ali express. If you order locally, the prices seem to drop a lot around Christmas and used prices never seem that exciting to me for the Godox stuff. The scrim I was talking about is just a translucent white material of some kind (the 3' x 4' 5:1 reflectors on Amazon for about $30 contain one).

I realize everyone likes strobist, but for what it's worth, I was really frustrated when I tried to use those suggestions. I found it far more helpful to just set my camera to manual, set the sync speed to the max for the camera, use ISO 200, f/8, and match the strobe power to get a good exposure and take photos.

Sure there is a lot to learn to light "correctly", but a strobe is so forgiving with a large modifier like a big 5:1 reflector or a large silver umbrella bounced through a diffusion layer (a brolly box) that you'll get some amazing results without that much skill. It is much like taking photos near a large north facing window. You can tweak the setup and improve your skills with strobist and other sources as you go.

The one piece of gear that is kind of annoyingly expensive is the stand. To hold any kind of large modifier no matter how compact the strobe is requires a large footprint like 3'. Those are around $50.



Feb 21, 2024 at 08:37 AM
sungphoto
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Portrait lighting


Start with one light, and keep the setup small and light so you don't have an excuse not to use it any chance you get.

Something like a 3 ft westcott rapid box or an umbrella style softbox (there are a ton of options out there), that takes a speedlight or a small strobe like the AD200. Avoid the temptation to get an expensive monolight because weird guys in fedoras endorse them on youtube, while shooting their cameras like 90s movie gangbangers. You can do a ton of stuff with just one light and a reflector panel (a circular one that collapses down like a tent is great).



Feb 21, 2024 at 03:09 PM
jlafferty
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Portrait lighting


sungphoto wrote:
Start with one light, and keep the setup small and light so you don't have an excuse not to use it any chance you get... You can do a ton of stuff with just one light and a reflector panel (a circular one that collapses down like a tent is great).


This is really great advice. I'd add that my personal choice on this would be a Photek Softlighter, super simple, lightweight and versatile. Legendary for a reason



Feb 23, 2024 at 11:43 AM







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