Hollywood Lighting

Today's post comes from the book Hollywood Portraits: Hot-Light Techniques for Professional Photographers by Lou Szoke. It is available from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and other fine retailers.

Classic Hollywood
This couple wanted an image with a classic Hollywood look. They work wonderfully with the camera, and they have become great friends of ours.

The lighting for this image was very basic. The main light came from above, lighting the woman’s face and spilling onto the man’s face at a slightly lesser intensity. I put a hair light on the woman and a background light behind the man. The fill light was in line with the man’s nose.

Get Close
I have been in this business for many years, and I can tell you, with confidence,that the best-selling image is usually a close-up. I think it comes down to the theory that the eyes are the entry-way to the soul.

Nevertheless, to make sure the client has a variety of images to choose from, I also try to do a full-length and a 3/4-length shot in each session.

Shoot As It Happens
Some of the best images come about when you are simply watching the client and capture an image when the right moment presents itself.

In this particular session, the baby was being restless and fidgety. I noticed that Dad kept looking down and talking to him, so I shot the portrait as the moment transpired.

Sometimes the children in the image dictate what is going to happen. You might as well just shoot and hope for the best. Some of my best shots have been the spontaneous takes such as this one.

The Language Of One's Eyes
This young lady was working at the local mall when my wife and I came across her. I loved her look and wanted to add her to my portfolio. We are not bashful at all about asking people to model for us. They are usually very humbled by the offer and are excited to do so. I pay the models for their time with 8x10-inch finished photographs of their choice.

To light this image, I used a main light modified with a barn door at camera left. I used a small kicker light on her hair. The fill light was placed in front of her and in line with her nose.