When it comes to lighting and camera settings its as complicated as you make it! There is always a hard way to do something but like anyone else I like the easy way, so this is my approach to simple portraits and how to get an amazing look with minimal kit.
Where to start is the key! I use the Olympus OMD E-M1 camera and yes its a MFT system “why” I hear you ask. Well its light and is in line with its bigger professional competitors that are on the market and I like light! as for years I lugged around bulky DSLR cameras.
My next approach is tethering. Its all very well seeing the image on the back of the cameras screen but details can sometimes be overlooked and thats why I like to shoot tethered seeing the image full screen on my laptop. We also have the benefit of being able to edit the image right away and send it off to our customer, so speed also comes in to this part.
Lighting is the key but we don’t want to be one of those photographers that needs a van to transport all the kit around “we have downsized our camera” so why not our lighting. This is why I use the Westcott Skylus LED lighting and combined with the Zeppelin modifier we have amazing wraparound lighting. One of the advantages of using constant light source is you already see the picture before even pressing the shutter button.
There is a rule we need to stick to every time LED lighting is used. Iv’e had the question asked so many times about colour temperature and why my images look perfect in the skin tones. This is a simple image showing you how to get that look. The cameras built in white balance is good but looks at all the photo and not just a part of the subject. If we tell the camera whats most important by putting in a custom white balance “CWB” to match our light source it will be perfect every time.
Westcott SkyLux has a CWB setting of 55000K and the iceLights set to 5400K
We now need a fill light and this will be a reflector. By using the Westcott Eye Lighter placed 30″ from your subject and 30″ from your light source with the lighting at a 45 degrees angle, you will have perfect portraits every time.
My background is simple. Five meters of cloth from a fabric store costing me no more then £3.60 and is clipped to 2 lighting stands (behind the cloth is a mess of chairs, pictures and even a sink) but this set up does the job nicely, and can all fit in to my bag. What all this in your bag! Yes believe it or not I set off from Reading on the train to London with all the kit listed in my bag with no effort at all. The bag in question is the new ThinkTank Photo Production Manager 40 and its my best friend as it has wheels on!
All the images are right out of the camera with no editing. If your using amazing light it will naturally fill in any unwanted imperfections to a degree. I also put more black’s in using the cameras highlights and shadows control.