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Portraits: Understanding The Difference Between Direction And Power Of Light

8/01/2023 Matt 0 Comments

In this video, photographer Peter Coulson will delve into the art of understanding direction and power of light in portrait photography.

Peter Coulson explains the fundamental concepts of lighting. He showcased a simple lighting setup using a large OCTA softbox positioned above and slightly in front of the model, Meika Woollard. Peter mentioned that understanding the direction of light is crucial for achieving the desired look in a portrait.

He emphasized that the direction of light is not where the light is pointed, but rather where it comes from and travels to the subject. As the model moved around, Peter demonstrated how the direction of light changed based on her position in relation to the light source.

To illustrate this, Peter used a parabolic softbox. When the flash inside the softbox goes off, it illuminates the entire inner surface, including a shower curtain-like material. This material then becomes the primary light source, creating a 180-degree spread of light. Peter moved her around while keeping the distance between the model and the light consistent, ensuring that she was correctly exposed at all times.

By altering her position and the distance from the light source, Peter could manipulate the light's power and direction. He showed us how certain angles produced different lighting effects on her face. For example, positioning her in front of the light created a soft and even illumination, while moving me to the side resulted in a more dramatic look with shadows and highlights.

Portraits: Understanding The Difference Between Direction Of Light And The Power Of The Light

As he continued the session, Peter demonstrated the classic Rembrandt lighting technique. By positioning the light at a specific angle, he created a small triangle of light under one eye, characteristic of this technique. By fine-tuning her position and the light angle, he achieved the desired Rembrandt effect, enhancing the depth and dimension in the images.

In conclusion, mastering the direction and power of light is crucial for creating stunning portrait photographs. Understanding how light interacts with the subject and how to manipulate it can elevate a portrait from ordinary to extraordinary. Additionally, the emotional connection between the model and the photographer plays a significant role in producing authentic and captivating images.

About Peter Coulson:

Peter specializes in beauty, fashion and fetish Photography with a large emphasis in black & white post-processing. He world-renowned images are instantly recognizable and range in style while fusing the latest fashion trends with his personal conceptual reflections. Peter's images are strong, sensual and mysteriously elegant with a twist of my screwed-up sense of humour. Let's Get Connected: |  Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Images and video via Peter Coulson | Model: Tess Perrone This is just a small sip it from our latest tutorial up on | Worldwide Photography Workshops: