How to Setup Photography Studio Lighting

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Studio lighting does not have to be difficult or complicated. Unravel the secret of setting up great studio lights with the help of a professional photographer in this free video.

Part of the Video Series: Portrait Photography
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Video Transcript

I'm Paul with Paul Steven Photography, and today we're going to show you how to set up basic portrait lighting. Well, here we're on the studio, I'm going to do some basic portrait lighting for you. I'm going to put my light mirror away which is always a good thing to have so we can have our light setup on the proper exposure, proper lighting exposure as well as what's in the camera. The first thing I want to talk about is the main light which is what I have closest to the subject in this circumstance. Basically, I have this setup with an umbrella on the main light. Then, you've heard of other lighting called the soft box. With an umbrella, the light spills over versus a, a soft box. So, this is a little bit easier for the beginner, and I suggest you start off with a, an umbrella and build your way up. With the main light, we basically have this facing our subject and this will provide most of the light direction. So, we light, light up this side of the, of our subject's face. With our field light which I have in the back of the room, the same setup; I have the umbrella in it and the field light will be a couple of stops like 5/6 and F11 for our main light. The field light will light up the other side of our subject's face. Two lights, that's all you need to do a basic portrait. You can add other lights, I'm sure you've heard of them, a hair light, a ream light. But, with a, a field light to light up one side and, and just to settle him to the shadow side and main light is all you need to do basic studio portraiture. Another key thing too is that I've, if you've noticed I have both lights on the right side. Sometimes you might catch yourself putting a light on the opposite side; but then, you tend to have a catch light as when you see a reflection in your subject's eyes. You want to try to have one catch light or one reflection in your subject's eyes. Proper placement of the main light is pretty important to have this pretty level with your subject's eyes or just above. So, it's in about 10 or 11 o'clock; little on the high side, but you see that reflection inside my eyes. And if you have both lights on one side, you'll see this light reflection in my eyes and not the back light. It'll be off to this side, in the back room, just feeling this side of my face or the subject's face. Of course, I'll be there with the camera in the back photographing you. And that's how you set up basic studio portrait lighting.

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