Master Class
Light Control; The Key To Good Portraits Page 2

I'm able to get four lights out of this one power pack. Their faces, hair, her veil, and the background are all being lit with separate lights coming out of a new Photogenic 800 ws PM2 Photomaster power supply. The main light and the hairlight are going through Westcott 24" softboxes.

I've been using Photogenic lights for my portraits as long as I've been doing portraits with strobe. I only recently updated my lights to this new system, because the new light heads are so small and versatile. I can hang two lights in small Westcott softboxes on Westcott boom arms and place them wherever they need to be without having to worry about getting the light stands in the picture. The fill light is a fifth light coming out of an identical Photogenic Photomaster power supply. Actually, I could use anything for the fill, but I choose to use another Photogenic light and power source, so that I can have a back-up, should anything go wrong with my main lighting system.

Michele's studio is located directly on Whitewater Lake. How could we not use the setting for a couple of pictures? The late afternoon light was coming in at an angle that made me select this angle of view. I wanted the sun to be shining on the background, so that I could retain detail there. When I noticed that the light would be hitting them directly from the front (flat lighting both faces) I thought immediately that this is the perfect time to have them looking at each other.

I turned her body so that the light would cross over the bodice of her gown and show all the detail on the top of it. A 28-135mm lens worked perfectly, keeping the couple fairly close to the camera and the background far behind them.

When I noticed the late afternoon sun coming through the weeping willow trees I positioned the couple so that they would again be backlit by direct sunlight. I shot from across the lake, turning their faces toward the open light. There was no way that I could get a flash to light their faces, but I didn't need it, because there was so much light coming from the open lake.

The backlit weeping willow branches gave me another idea. I brought the couple inside a tree with me and looked at the light coming in from the outside. The light was too splattered from the direct sunlight, so I had a couple of people hold up a translucent panel outside of the tree branches to once again turn totally unusable light into beautiful, soft portrait lighting.

To achieve good portrait lighting I turned her face toward the light source, keeping the near side of her face in shadow, the same as I would do by window light. Once I had achieved proper light on her face, I positioned her body to support that view of her face. Then, I placed him behind her, keeping his head going directly toward the camera, rather than turning his head toward her and away from the light.

As you can see, you can't do very much without controlling the light. Everything is easy when you know how!