I’m big fan of continuous education and even just the general advancement of one’s skills. I believe that learning new things and acquiring new skills should never stop, even when we’re done with school and we have our diplomas to wave in the air. In film school, my main focus was cinematography and I spent a semester on learning how to light a scene, create different setups and light patterns with a variety of lights, flags, screens, gels, etc. Early on, I learned how important it is to create a mood, or feel, that is appropriate for a scene and why lighting is an integral part of the cinematic language.
As I’m slowly transitioning to studio photography I felt it was time for a refresher, which is why I signed up for an advanced lighting workshop at FD Photo Studio in Downtown Los Angeles. I felt my biggest shortcoming was not having enough experience with strobes. I’m accustomed to using continuous light, when you can actually see what you’re creating, and strobes are a still more of trial-and-error for me… but I’m slowly adjusting.
At any rate, regardless of what you use you should know how to light for classical portraiture. There are several things to control and think about to create a flattering portrait, including: lighting ratio, lighting pattern, facial view, and angle of view. Below are my attempts of a singe light source shot, a few classical Hollywood 3-light setup (key, fill and rim) and some split pattern variations. I have much to learn and I can’t wait to compare these to the ones I’ll be creating months from now.