Last night, 10th November, we had a very instructive and practical workshop on Portrait Lighting. Our panel of experts had two studio set-ups for us to practise our skills. Thanks to the expertise and guidance of Mark, Derville, Andy and John who brought us through our paces and gave us useful tips along the way.

In studio 1 we were treated to Jill Greenberg’s ‘Shiny Look’: The lighting style that she uses for her portraits is  important for this particular look. Her setup is pretty standard most of the time with variations here and there. The set-up for last night’s shoot was a 6 light set-up, Jill would use anything from 3 to 7 lights for her set-ups. The light setup is as follows: 3 in front of the model and two to the model’s sides and one behind  for the background. The technique is to blast light from all directions of the model. Her Photoshop technique generally requires a lot of cleaning, cloning/healing, dodging and burning, levels corrections and an overlay/multiply blending techniques.

In studio 2 we had a One light set-up on black background: Beauty dishes are a  modifier usually reserved for beauty/glamour shots. Beauty dishes will produce catch lights in the eyes and shadows under the jaw line and under the nose to create a ‘Butterfly effect’. You can change the quality of light by choosing a dish with a silver, or white, inner surface, we used a white dish with a white inner diffuser dome. The white surface will produce  less specular highlights on the subject’s face. You can also control the spill of light by using a grid attached to the dish and we  soften the light by adding a sock over the front. You can add 2 extra lights to either side of the model to create separation from the back ground  and a forth light to illuminate the back ground.

We were given plenty of opportunity to engage with the models and to practise our techniques in each studio. Thanks to our models: Margaret, Dalilha, Eugene and Hugo who were very patient and sat willingly for long periods. Here are a few shots from the night.




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