Up Your Portrait Game with These Basic Portrait Lighting Techniques

Lighting techniques

Learn how to master basic lighting techniques to really take your portraits to the next level.

Adding artificial lighting into your portrait workflow can really make your images stand out from the crowd. There are many photographers out there who are scared to use speed lights, strobes, and monolights, but there really is no need to feel overwhelmed. After the break we’ll share a video with you from Run N Gun that shows just how simple it can be to add lighting into your portrait photography with simple, easy to use lighting techniques.

Let me preface this by saying there is nothing wrong with natural light photography. Photographers around the globe have been producing beautiful portrait images for many years using nothing but the ambient lighting available to them. But by adding artificial lighting and using basic lighting techniques, you’ll really be able make your images pop. Just one light can transform a dull, flat image into one that’s incredibly dynamic.

Being in total control of the lighting gives photographers many more opportunities to snap incredible images. Not only will you be able to shoot in places that would have been impossible without external lighting, you’ll also be able to control the mood and feel of the images too. You can add shadows, remove shadows, and can highlight particular features. You can even create amazing background separation by using rim lighting, kicker lights, and background lighting. The possibilities are nearly endless.

The basic lighting techniques tutorial from Run N Gun is the perfect way to learn about portrait lighting. With this video you’ll be able to familiarize yourself with some simple terminology and easy lighting techniques. The video covers everything from hard light to soft light, and what the differences are between different types of lighting effects such as Rembrandt lighting, butterfly lighting, split lighting, and rim lighting. JT, the host of the video, explains everything incredibly well and gives examples of each type of lighting that he talks about.

There really is no better time to start learning about external lighting than when you first pick up your camera. The sooner you learn how to embrace flash and artificial lighting, the sooner your images will stand out from the rest of the pack. It’s never too late to start learning how to incorporate lighting into your photography. Check out the video below.

How do you feel about artificial lighting for portraits after watching the video? The basic lighting techniques show just how easy it can be to take your images to another level. If you feel like you’re ready to purchase some lighting, you can check out our guide on how to buy a flash. Hopefully you’re ready to add lighting to your portrait work. Once you do you’ll never look back.

Do you use external lighting for portrait photography? When did you start using it, and what do you use? Let us know in the comment section below.

Via Run N Gun

Brett Day

Brett Day is the Gear Editor at The Phoblographer and has been a photographer for as long as he can remember. Brett has his own photography business that focuses on corporate events and portraiture. In his spare time, Brett loves to practice landscape and wildlife photography. When he's not behind a camera, he's enjoying life with his wife and two kids, or he's playing video games, drinking coffee, and eating Cheetos.