Portraits With Simple Light Setups

This post is gonna be what you call a bag of mixed candy in Danish. It's a real weekend post containing photos taken for fun on a weekend, written on a weekend and maybe best read on a weekend.

I took the photos on a weekend as a grass widow. How else would you spend your weekend when your boyfriend is gone, you've watched all seasons of Gilmore Girls already and you have a home studio at hand, right?

I'm not a big fan of standing in front of the camera, but I've grown used to it by now. As a photographer being somehow comfortable in front of a camera comes quite handy for test shots and to try out new stuff, especially if you don't have a model at hand.

With the photos I wanted to show the interplay between focal lengths, light modifiers and poses and how they influence how the subject will look on the photo.

And because I like to see other people's before and after photos, I will show you mine, too. Also, just ignore my wild hair that surely makes every stylist cringe.

Beauty Dish

ISO 100, f14, 1/125 sec @50mm

The light of the Beauty Dish is soft, but concentrated, which lightens up my face but not the wall behind me. The shadows are relatively hard and dramatic.

Beauty Dish and silve reflector

ISO 100, f14, 1/125sec @50mm

I'm holding a silver reflector to my right (camera left) side, which lightens the shadows on my face a little and creates a second reflection in my eyes.

Softbox from above, silver reflector from underneath

ISO 100, f14, 1/125sec @50mm

The light of a Softbox is much softer than the light of a Beauty Dish, which also results in more spill light. This is why the background, my hair and shoulders are much brighter than on the photos above.
My face is lit up more evenly and there is no shadow underneath my nose, for example. There is no shadow under my chin, but it still looks formed and clearly seperated from my neck.

Softbox as main light, Beauty Dish as rim light

ISO 100, f14, 1/125sec @135mm

The higher focal length makes my face look thinner. The Softbox produces a very soft light from the camera right, while the Beauty Dish provides rim light to highlight my jaw.
The rim light could have been placed even better to seperate my hair and shoulder from the background as well, but that's not that easy when you're doing self portraits and have to walk around and move stuff yourself.

Softbox and silver reflector

ISO 100, f14, 1/125sec @135mm

The light is rather flat on this one by ligthening up almost all my face because of the Softbox. And the last shadows on my face are being softened by the silver reflector that I'm holding.
This is also the only shot where I bothered to put up my hair - and it gives my face a whole new form!

And now have a nice weekend everyone! Luckily, I'm not a grass widow anymore, so I can go and shoot some photos with Jonathan.

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Written by: Judith tagged with blog, portrait, retouch