How to Add Highlights to Your Portraits

In the past, we’ve talked extensively about portrait photography and what you can do to improve your photos. Now, it’s time again for a couple of simple tips from Mark Wallace, who explains a simple way you can add some punch to your portraits:

I’m a big fan of simple solutions that bring a huge quality increase to your work. In the video above, Wallace talks about kicker lights: two Profoto 3’x4′ RFi softboxes. They’re placed on each side of the subject, lighting the subject from the back, toward the camera.

add highlights to portraits

The two lights that make the subject stand out.

The lighting ratio between the lights should be 1:1. Once you set them up, they have a great effect on your subject: they add highlights on their cheeks, jawline, hair, and shoulders.

If you see some lens flare from the shots behind the subject, blocking the light from going straight into the camera is also an option.

add highlights to photos lights

The end result. With a simple tweak you get a much better portrait!

The results from using these two lights are great, and you can see the model’s features are highlighted—it makes for a much better photo. The best thing about this is that you can achieve the same effect with other types of lights, and the technique is great for shooting inside a studio or out on location.

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