Portaflash Studio Lighting Techniques

Written by david orr
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Portaflash Studio Lighting Techniques
A photographer adjusts a flash light with umbrella attachment. (Jupiterimages/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Portaflash is a brand of strobe (flash) lighting for photography. The lights are typically powered by battery packs, and are thus highly portable. You can create your own kit to suit your needs with the use of different lights and accessories such as diffusers, reflectors or umbrellas. Although there are many different types of studio photography, portraits are the most common. There are some popular styles of portrait lighting that can be done with Portaflash lights.

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Broad Lighting Style

In general, this style of portrait lighting makes slender faces appear a bit fuller. The main light should be set up several feet away from the subject, pointing toward the side of the face that is closest to the camera. The fill light should be set up on the opposite side of the key light. It is used to minimise some of the shadows on the subject's face and is usually passed through a diffuser or reflected with an umbrella. It should be of a lower intensity than the key light in order to add depth to the subject's face and prevent a flat look.

Short Lighting Style

Traditionally, this style of lighting has been used to make heavier faces appear more slender. The key light is aimed toward the side of the face that is away from the camera. As with the broad lighting style, the fill light is placed on the opposite side, as it is usually diffused or reflected.

Butterfly Lighting

This style of portrait lighting is also known as glamour lighting and was very popular in the 1920s, '30s and '40s. The main light should be placed on the same access as the subject's nose and then raised above the subject until the "butterfly" shadow appears under their nose. A fill light can then be placed on either side, as needed.

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