Portrait lighting: Hollywood Portraits

Step Three

schmelzer_portrait_hollywood_3To begin this portrait, I used a five-light setup starting with the main light positioned into modified butterfly and a Fresnel lens adapter with barn doors. It’s impossible to achieve this look with an umbrella and softboxes, which will spread the light too far. The umbrella and softboxes also make it harder to use barn doors to skim the light in on a butterfly position.

By paying attention to the shadows, I first made sure that the axis or brightest spot of the light was in the center of the face. Then I closed down the barn doors to ensure that I was getting deep shadows in the cheeks without over-flooding the lights all over the place. 

schmelzer_portrait_hollywood_3aTip: When you see the shadow of the eyelashes on the cheek, you know that you’re getting the signature light in the correct position—sort of like knowing when your instrument is in tune.

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