Experimenting with different lighting setups can transform a simple image into a creative portrait. It’s not hard to experiment. If you don’t like the look, keep experimenting until you find one you love. Here’re two examples on how to add killer catchlights to a portrait that will help jumpstart your creativity.
A ring light adds unique lighting to a portrait. You place the lens through the middle of the light, causing the light to come from the same plane as the lens. This produces very few shadows and a unique catch light.
There are several different types of ring lights. I used the Angler Circo LED Ring Light to capture this shot. It’s continuous, so what you see is what you get—making it easy to position your subject. To complete the look, I placed two strip boxes on each side of the subject and added a blue gel to one of them.
Striplights—especially with egg-crate grids—produce a distinct quality of narrow, even lighting. This allows you to control precisely where the light will fall on the subject. Placing two striplights on an angle gave me the unique catchlight I was looking for but—because the light is narrow—caused an unflattering shadow in the middle of the subject’s face. Adding a third light with a softbox underneath the striplights filled in the shadows and added a third catchlight. To complete the look, I added a fourth, larger softbox to separate the subject from the black background.
Experiment with different catchlight patterns but make sure to watch for harsh shadows and unflattering light on the subject.