Useful Tips for Lighting Portraits of Couples

Lighting a single individual to get an amazing portrait is a matter of knowledge and skill in itself. And when it comes to lighting two people at once, it can get even more challenging. Photographer Jay P. Morgan from The Slanted Lens shows how you can apply different portrait lighting setups when working with a couple:

Same Direction, Same Light Position

If the couples faces straight toward the camera, the lighting may look good, but they won’t look good together. The idea is to create more chemistry between the two and have them come close together with their heads turned the same direction.

With the couple’s heads turned the same direction, you can then experiment with the different lighting positions.

couple portrait facing in same direction

Different Directions, Different Light Position

In this case, the couples have their heads turned in different directions causing each of them to have different lighting on them. For instance, one may have Rembrandt lighting on them while the other might have butterfly lighting.

couple portrait facing in different directions

The key is to experiment with the different lighting positions, inviting the couples to either face in the same or different directions. Then pose them in a way that the light works best for both of them, ensuring one isn’t casting a shadow on the other. Also, ensure that they look really comfortable with each other—a photographer’s job is to capture emotional reality, and that’s easiest to do when subjects feel at ease.

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