5 Lighting Keys for Taking Better Portraits at Home

Lighting is king! If you work to utilize better lighting techniques the quality of your photos will increase. Here are a few suggestions.

  1. You want the light to hit your subjects face evenly and create “catch light” (light reflection) in their eye.
  2. Soft light is best. You don’t want the harsh noon sunlight as it creates shadows on the face. That’s why using the shade of a tree is helpful or photographers utilize the “sweet light” before sundown or after sunrise.
  3. Using a reflector, anything that the light will hit and then reflect back into the subjects face, is very helpful.  A reflector is especially great for getting that catch light in the eye. (Car windshield cover, metallic silver works well)
  4. If you are photographing inside use window light. Just remember not to use the hard direct sunlight, use a north-facing window if possible. However, if a direct sunlight window is your best option you can put a thin white sheet up to help defuse and soften the light.
  5. Lastly, if you have no natural light to work with you’ll move on to artificial lighting.  The ideal location of your light source should be in front and slightly above or near the head height of your subject. Try setting up some lamps. Indoor or studio lighting is more challenging, but it also lends itself to creating dramatic and artistic looks.

Now, the next time you take a home portrait look closely at your light source and closely at your subject’s face, especially the eyes. Make adjustments as needed to get a great photo. Have fun experimenting with lighting!

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