How To Combine Different Light In Portraits

Using your light sources for street portraits allows you to illuminate your subject from any angle you choose. You’re no longer tied to the direction and quality of natural light – you can either accentuate it with a light fill or create a completely different mood.

It allows you to combine the best features of studio and natural light in portraits, choosing the position of your subject and the background, without unfortunate incident light. By the way, if you want to take more original shots and read about photo poses for women, check out Skylum’s blog.

Combine Different Light In Portraits

Using an LED lamp

An LED lamp, like the Rotolight AEOS, will provide maximum flexibility. The principle of what you see is what you get when shooting with constant light makes it so easy to work with that you just turn the lamp on, point it and adjust the power.

You can put the lamp in the front in a classic key light position, for instance, or put it behind to accentuate the outline of your subject and set it apart from the background. The final result is totally up to you. This approach makes it easier to shoot outdoors, not only speeding it up but also allowing you to experiment with different angles until you find the right balance between the lamp power and the brightness of the natural light.

Color temperature control also allows you to match the color of the light to the conditions or make it warmer or cooler, depending on the situation. This opens up the possibility of taking pictures in a variety of situations.

For example, you can start taking pictures outdoors during the day, get warmer color temperatures as the sun goes down, generally go indoors under incandescent lighting, or go outdoors after dark for a night photo shoot. Temperature control also gives you the freedom to work with mixed colors, allowing you to, say, mix a warm light in front and a cooler light behind your subject.

Switching to High-Speed Sync

When the maximum light power isn’t enough, there’s an option to switch to a flash sync mode at short shutter speeds that doubles it, providing an extra stop of light. You’ll get about 5 hours of battery life, which is more than enough for most photo shoots. The light character without modifiers is medium – not too soft, but not too harsh either – and generally comparable to the light from a portrait plate.

Of course, you have to pay for the convenience of LED bulbs, and that price is the power output. While they do a good job of adding backlighting and glare in portrait photography, this type of lamp will not overpower sunlight. You’ll need a flash for such purposes.

Fans of the latter might argue that the flash is much stronger than any LED bulb, so why switch to constant lighting then? Sure, the maximum output power of LED bulbs is very low compared to flashes, but you need different tools for different tasks.

Switching to High-Speed Sync

Instant feedback with AEOS

This device may not overpower the sun, but it offers many other benefits in return. You get instant feedback, the ability to adjust color temperature, and consistent lighting for shooting video. Add to that long battery life and portability, and you have a powerful tool that offers much more flexibility than a flash.

Among other things, the main challenge of using a flash when shooting outdoors is achieving a natural look. It’s doable but requires a lot of test shots and minor tweaks. On the other hand, using an LED light allows you to get the desired effect in a matter of minutes.

Why it works

One of the things photographers often do in bright sunny weather is to place the model so that the sun is behind her, emphasizing the outline of the figure and separating the model from the background. However, this inevitably leads to the face and the front of the body being submerged in shadow.

It’s a matter of balance, and the extra light allows you to restore some of that by lighting the model’s face. This makes it easy to equalize the light and reduce the contrast through soft-fill light. As a result, you can get not only better shadow detail but also attractive glare in the model’s eyes. The round shape of the AEOS gives the highlights a rounded shape. The portrait is more balanced and saturated without looking too artificial.

Street photoshoot with LED lamp

Let’s look at the peculiarities of an outdoor photo shoot with AEOS:

  • Location of light. With an LED lamp at your disposal, you can illuminate the subject from any angle.
  • Color temperature. A color temperature controller will allow you to match the light of the lamp to natural light. The light is cooler in the shade and warmer as the sun goes down, especially around the golden hour.
  • When a strong, small light source is pointed at a model’s face, a tiny glare appears in the eyes. The eyes are the first thing the viewer looks at, and the highlights give them vibrancy.
  • Camera angles. The camera angle should also coordinate with the lighting. By shooting from a low angle, I can cut into the background and bring out the depth of the shot by blurring out part of the foreground.

Portability is an important factor in outdoor photography. The AEOS is light enough to carry around with me, but not the right size for a day-long photo shoot. The power adjusters in the AEOS allow you to make quick edits to see if the lamp’s light blends in with the natural light.

Street photoshoot with LED lamp

Of course, you can always edit good shots and fix the lighting in the modern photo editor Luminar Neo. Also, don’t forget to read the article about photo poses for women on the website of Skylum developer. So you can improve your skills and offer more poses for your model.

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About the author

Nitin Maheta

Nitin Maheta is a full time blogger, providing cool and unique contents to his readers. As Nitin is very passionate about blogging and everything related to blogging.

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