Portrait lighting: Hollywood Portraits

[tps_header]When choosing which type of main light to use for a portrait, such as softboxes, umbrellas, or spotlights, the decision should be based solely on the facial structure of your subject and what corrections need to be made. For Hollywood portraits, the movie stars are flawless, glamorous-looking people, so the lighting could be stronger and more dramatic to chisel out the features of their faces. Photographers are able to show off their lighting with deeper shadows because the facial structures are so beautiful. Lighting for glamour or Hollywood portraits isn’t meant to glamorize people, but rather it’s for taking pictures of glamorous people—meaning that you don’t need to correct the subjects, but instead emphasize their features.

For this tutorial, we’re going to take a portrait using Hollywood lighting. To make the lighting more dramatic, use spotlights or lights with a Fresnel lens in front and barn doors to shape and texture the face and emulate the master photographers from the early Hollywood days. The pattern of light on the face is normally a butterfly or modified butterfly. 


Step One

schmelzer_portrait_hollywood_1For this idea, I chose a black background and fur wrap, showing bare shoulders to make it a little sexy. I asked the stylist to give the model a hairstyle from the ’40s or ’50s when they finger-wrapped the hair. 

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