I’ve studied portraiture with Don Blair, Joyce Wilson, Monte Zucker, Clay Blackmore and others. I’ve come to realize that most people don’t actually study portraiture anymore. They tend to just run and gun. If you don’t want to spend time learning from the masters, at least consider these three simple tips.
1. Start with one light. It’s easier to master. It’s easier to set up. It costs less than two. It’s less intimidating to the client and with the use of reflectors, can act like three or four lights.
2. When you’re shooting a basic portrait, remember the reflector should never be held adjacent to the head. The reflector stops where the face begins my friends Monte and Clay would say. This technique is called feathering.
3. Remember to pose the subject before you light them. This order is very important. The lighting position always serves the pose, not the other way around.
Try these for yourself. See if they don’t improve your portraits.