Continuous Lighting Tips in Portrait Photography

Using a shallow depth of field in portrait photography can yield some great photographs; however, shooting at f1.7 can also pose a few problems. Getting the lighting correct is difficult when the aperture is wide open and even the slightest movement from the camera or subject can throw things out of focus. Luckily, Mike Wallace has made an informative video tutorial that shows viewers the lighting setup he uses, as well as sharing a few pointers for shooting the portraits. Have a look:

When you are shooting portraits, it is important to make sure that the eye remains in focus. This is especially tedious when using a shallow depth of field because even the slightest movement in camera or model will shift the focus. In order to do that, Wallace stresses a few things in the video:

  • Use just the modeling light on your strobe to light the portrait if your strobe is too bright to meter at f/1.7.
  • Turn off all ambient light such as overhead lighting and make sure window light does not affect your portrait.
  • Always pay attention to your focus. It’s best to double check on computer instead of the small display screen on your DSLR.
  • Using a tripod will help eliminate camera movement that results in your model falling out of focus.
  • Make sure your model doesn’t move out of focus.
  • Check your camera settings to make sure that all autofocus points are on.

Here are a couple of the setups Wallace uses in the video:


He used the above configuration to get this portrait:


Here is an example of a one light setup:
beauty dish

Which was used to make this photograph:

shallow depth of field

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3 responses to “Continuous Lighting Tips in Portrait Photography”

  1. Portrait Photography is all about to capture the expression and especially the different form of person’s expressions. It is one of the best ways to express the person’s mood and personality. The fully trained and Expert Photographers can capture the moments in their best possible way.

  2. Brian in Whitby says:

    Back in the early days of photography, exposures were of the order of 30 seconds or more. The early emulsions were that slow! When taking photos of people, photographers provided a brace that helped the subject(s) sit still.
    In this situation, it is important that the model not move so (s)he remains in the shallow depth of focus.
    A similar brace, hidden from the camera, would be useful in this situation.

  3. Jose Cruz says:

    I love this style of portraiture. Is there any social network where I can follow this photographer and see more of his/her work?

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