six portrait ideas

i have created six different portrait setups with very different looks. the first two are ambient light setups, the others were all basically created with one single led light. as always the narrative around the picture is important so I gave the setups distinguishing names.


the window light

this is the most simple portrait lighting setup: just a window. the camera is positioned to capture the face from the bright side. the curtain, the face and the background build an interesting dark / light / dark / light pattern. the fast aperture of f/2 creates separation from the background and visual contrast.


the hollywood window light

very similar to the setup before but this time shot from the dark side for more drama and expression. the dark side of the face is made even darker by having a black cardboard placed here to reduce reflections. basically all hollywood movies are shots from the dark side - thus the name.


the rembrandt light

probably the most well known lighting setup ever used. a soft and diffused light source at a 45° angle creates this partially well exposed face but leaves the dark side with room for speculation. catch lights make the subject look alive and positive.


the madmans light

although not very different to the setup before this is unconventional. a directional, hard source casts a slim beam of light on the subjects face creating hard shadows and strong contrast. the almost invisible eyes make this face look strange and unapproachable. to be used with caution.


the saints light

also an unconventional lighting setup using a parabolic silver reflector to create this moderately soft but very specular light. the additional light on the background illuminates the glow around the head making the subject stand out from the background in a focused approach.


the high-key light

a very conventional lighting setup at last. a big, soft, diffused light source wraps nicely around the subjects face concealing his real age (hopefully). the white background almost blends in with the bright side of the subjects face. nothing to show character but ideal for beauty photography.