Selfies: we've all done them (don't lie, we saw it on your Instagram!), but how do you master the art of taking a good self-portrait? This Saturday, we’re gathering together to do a special portrait photography workshop at the Lomography Gallery store here in NYC. In this guide, I share several lighting techniques that are guaranteed to make your portraits look amazing. Whether natural or artificial, well placed lighting is what separates mediocre portrait photographers from exceptional ones. I use Canon flash heads fired remotely with Elinchrom Skyport triggers and receivers to light my portraits. Depending on the situation, I fire my lights into an umbrella, portable softbox or a homemade snoot – more on this further along!
Now that you have dialed in the settings on your camera, let’s talk about the relationship between natural and off-camera strobe lighting and how each one is controlled. There are a variety of studio lighting techniques including Butterfly Lighting, Loop Lighting, Rembrandt Lighting and others. Rembrandt Lighting is characterized by light striking one side of the face and gradually falling away. You can set the light on the left or right side of your client – the choice is yours.
Note: Rembrandt Lighting is named after Dutch painter Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn who used similar lighting techniques in his paintings. In both of these examples, the sun was acting as a second light accenting my clients’ hair.
This portrait session took place at Pike Place Market in Post Alley in front of the world famous Gum Wall. Note: I cut narrow strips of CTO filter gels that just cover my flash heads and use Velcro to stick them in place. You have learned how to create dynamic portraits in a variety of settings using one or two lights. Note: The secondary flash is setup without any modifiers so that the full power of the light can reach my client.
Our reporters Matthew Rodrigues and Allison McNamara are laying down the ground rules for success.
If you bring a camera with manual exposure and a standard sized hot shoe, I’ll teach you how to create a better portrait no matter what the person may look like.


Understanding how to control and modify off-camera lighting is the single most important skill a portrait photographer can learn. Most seniors aren’t interested in canned studio pictures preferring dynamic environmental portraits instead.
You can use Pocket Wizards, Radio Poppers or virtually any other brand of radio triggers to achieve the same results.
One of the first things you need to do is meter the ambient light and determine your base exposure. Jumping into Manual mode might sound intimidating if you are a new photographer, but I promise it will be worthwhile!
This is the sweet spot for producing beautiful Bokeh without having to worry about the depth of field being so shallow that you lose detail between the tip of the nose and the back of the ears. The good news is that once you nail down the exposure on your camera, you can relax and focus on composition and working with your client.
If the outside light is too dark (or under exposed), lower the shutter speed and it will brightening up the scene.
For example, if you are having trouble hitting the right shutter speed at 200 ISO, you can jump up to 400 ISO to gain an extra stop of light, which in turn allows you to bump up your shutter speed. Commit this to memory and you’ll be way ahead of the average portrait photographer in your area. We are mainly going to discuss Rembrandt Lighting because it’s very easy to employ and does a beautiful job of filling in shadows around the face. If your client’s hair parts on the left side, it may make sense to place the main light on the right to avoid odd shadows. In this image, my client is standing in shade with a low setting sun back-lighting her hair. In overcast or cloudy conditions the sun won’t be available to you as a second light source. Nobody but you would probably ever know the difference, but it’s this kind of detailed lighting that will separate you from your peers.
I just scanned through many of them and pleased that I just naturally do some of them and then those that I would never have thought of. The key is striking a balance between a nicely blurred background and an acceptable shutter speed. By going into Manual mode, you will be able to control every aspect of the exposure and lighting.


You can also physically move the light farther away from your client to achieve similar results. To achieve Rembrandt Lighting you place your main light source at a 45-degree angle in front of your client. For example, if sun is to the left and behind my client, I place the main light on the right side.
The light stand is positioned several feet in front and to the right of my client at a 45-degree angle.
For example, if your client has dark hair and you are photographing her against a dark background, an accent light ensures that she stands out.
Next I setup a main and second accent light just as you have seen in the previous examples. Since I work alone and manage every aspect of my client’s experience, I have to travel light.
I placed a Color Temperature Orange (CTO) gel over the flash head to warm up the temperature of the light. The second light is being pushed through a portable softbox with a CTO gel attached to warm up the hair.
A snoot forces light to travel outward in a narrow beam and would only back light a portion of her hair. I use older Canon 580EX flash heads because they’re relatively inexpensive and easy to repair when they burn out.
Next, setup your second light several feet next to or behind your client so that it’s striking her hair. Light travels out of a softbox more broadly; this allows me back light all of her hair and upper body. And after you watch, snap your best selfie and share it with us using our hashtag #popselfie.
I carry two camera bodies, three lenses, four flash heads, light stands, radio triggers and an assortment of other odds and ends to every session.



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Comments to «Learn how to take portrait photos online»

  1. 0503610100 on 24.06.2016 at 11:53:23
    Seen and achieved myself some incredible shots with a tripod.
  2. ismayil on 24.06.2016 at 15:54:16
    If you don't know how, get out since I wouldn't.