How do you think, when lighting?

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
Klaus dk
Klaus dk Veteran Member • Posts: 7,087
Re: How do you think, when lighting?

When I light, it's usually for headshots for job applicants' resumes. This is a genre much like corporate portraits, except mine should be as individual as possible. I don't want it to be too evident that two applicants were shot by the same photographer in the same studio.

Each subject is assigned half an hour, so the whole session including lighting setup, connecting with the subject, and getting the shot(s) must be completed in that time frame. Since the task and situation is quite well defined, we rarely need more time and often use less.

I base the lighting of each shoot on a mixture of intuition, knowledge, and experience.

My thought process begins with the face.

I look at the individal and try to figure out how to light the face to bring out the subject's best. Depending on facial roundness, glasses, smoothness of skin, the setting of the eyes, hair, etc. I select a lighting sceme and guesstimate fill ratio, and the need for kickers and/or hair light. If the subject has a preferred side, and I notice or remember to ask, that's the one I light.

While I am ready to use all means available to make the lighting suit the face, I always try to keep the lighting from drawing attention to itself. I'm not there to show off my lighting skills, but to create a picture of a person.

To create a suitable background, I look at the subject's hair and skin colour as well as clothing. I use white, grey, and black backgrounds, but I often add coloured gels to my background light. I try to match or contrast the clothing or subtly add a mood to the picture.

Last, looking at the LCD, I balance the lights based on a few test shots. I know what I'm after, so I can usually fix the power of the different light groups in two or three shots. To me, that works better than some abstract readings on a flash meter.

Considering my studio lights are all TTL compatible, I might begin to use the TCM feature of my Godox Xpro transmitter. I'd like to know if anybody has experience with that?

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Sony RX100 II Canon EOS 7D Canon EOS R Canon EF 135mm F2.8 SF Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM +15 more
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