HOW-TO: variable lighting techniques for portrait scenes

Today we’ll briefly go over some techniques for various points of soft lighting for several actors’ faces. First and foremost, the story rules, which means this is what dictates the type of lighting needed. Secondly, the mood is what helps shape the lighting, meaning it may need to be harsh, soft, subtle, etc. And, lastly, well…there isn’t a “lastly”, that’s pretty much it- the story dictates how you paint with lighting.

Split Screen- Actor's Reel Split Screen lession 01

These shots were done with a similar theme. A sterile hospital, but more of a dramatic flare. While most hospitals are evenly lit from a top, fluorescent source, I wanted to emphasize more of a private room look for the shots. The colors also come into play here, being more neutral even with the skin tones.

Split Screen- nurse

Split Screen lession 03

Similar to the previous shots, only this time with a softer (LED) edge light at a cooler temperature (3200k)
Split Screen lession 02

Considering this character’s condition, not only did I want to change the color tone, but additionally the style of lighting. While the key remained soft to be kind to her skin, I wanted a harsher edge light to make her image bolder, more prominent. Additionally, pulling the image out of focus briefly emphasized her distortion from being 1(1)

Weapon of choice

Weapon of choice

Alongide 250w through silk

Alongide 250w through silk

Using natural light and artificial light together.

Using natural light and artificial light together.

Even in a small studio, you can make the best of the situations if you know what you’re going for from the outset as well as the mood and theme of the film. If you use those tools from the get go, you’ll be fine in your photography at the end of the day!

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