Tips to Use Accent Lights for Portraits

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Studio lighting can prove tricky for any photographer and most of them never quite manage to understand lights completely. The complexity of lights can seem overwhelming, but there is no need to worry, as everything can be simplified for an amazing result.

Tips to Use Accent Lights for Portraits

Lights and Shadows

A good light helps us see a clear image, in detail, while shadows add depth and create shapes so they can alter the image in dramatic ways. Understanding light is all about shadows and how to use them to hide what you don’t want to be seen and to highlight important features. In a photographic studio light is the raw material to work with, apart from the model.

How many Light Sources

One single light can help a photographer obtain the desired imagine, but adding more smaller lights can make a huge difference for your portrait. The number of lights used in a controlled environment, like a photographic studio, will make the difference between pros and newbies.

Accent Lights

Accent lighting is the main tool for a skilled photographer. This can focus the viewer’s attention on certain features, like the hair, of the tears on the model, it adds drama to a photo and leaves a strong impression on the viewer.

Accent light should only enhances the features you want to highlight and it should be brighter than the main light, in order to difference itself from it.

A method of controlling the accent light in order to achieve the desired look is to focus it in shapes on your subject with special props or with doors and windows. You can use virtually anything to get what you want, even laptop light, which is bright and can make a strong impression, as the viewer’s brain can recognize it, unconsciously.

Front, side, back or all

Lights can be placed in front of the subject, on one or both of the sides and behind the subject. Each will cast a different shadow pattern and will visibly change the depth and the texture of the picture. By using multiple lights you can alter the main impression by highlighting a certain set of features. For example, you can enhance one’s rougher facial features and the portrait will transmit a tougher message.

Play and Experiment

Photography, like almost all arts, is not fully teachable, so you must play with accent lights and experiment as long as you need to learn how to use it. The opportunities are endless, so take your time.

Posted in: Digital Photography Tips and Tricks

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