Types of Lighting in Portrait Photography

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In portrait photography, hard lighting shines down behind the subject to separate them from the backdrop, while soft lighting fills in from the side with a soft glow. Experiment with different lighting effects for portrait photography with advice from a TV and video producer in this free video on lighting.

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Video Transcript

There's several types of lighting in portrait photography. What I'm going to show you today is a soft light and a hard light and what the difference is between the two. First off you have a hard light. Hard light is actually the lighting that will come down behind the subject to separate them from the backdrop. Let me give you a show. If I turn this on, this light is very hard on the back of my head and it separates me from the backdrop, in this case we don't have the backdrop lit independently, we only have a separate fill light over here on me and no backdrop light. But let me show you a soft light and how softly will fill in this entire area on this side with lighting and how the contrast with the hard light will separate me from the backdrop. Lets take a look. And as you can see, plenty of fill from this side, a nice soft glow on this side, a fill light over here, and you have a hard light separating me from the backdrop. So that's the basic type of lighting for portrait photography.

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