Accenting Faces Using a Grid: Portrait Lighting

Using grids to accent and smooth out imperfections on a model’s face is something professional photographers have been doing for quite some time. With a little instruction and practice, the technique isn’t all that hard to do and the results can save you a fair amount of time in editing. Take a look at the following instructional video hosted by Mark Wallace for a few pointers on how he uses a grid in combination with the rest of his studio light setup:

The chart below is a layout of the setup Wallace used in the video. You can see he uses two kicker lights behind the model to surround her with light. He also has a fill light set up on camera right, and his key light which is located nearest his camera, is outfitted with a 5-degree grid.

studio lightingWhen placing your key light, be sure to set in line with your camera lens, otherwise shadowing will begin to occur. Make sure the key light is placed just above your camera; you don’t want it to be too high or too low. It’s also worth noting that the fill light is underexposed by about 1/2 stop. Check out the pair of photos below to see what the photographs look like with and without the addition of the grid and key light:

studio lighting

As you can see, the face light makes a big impact on the smoothness of the model’s face and also makes her eyes a bit more bright. One light can make a big difference!

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One response to “Accenting Faces Using a Grid: Portrait Lighting”

  1. Nick says:

    Thanks for the tut.
    Are you sure the pics are the right way around @ 7:15?

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