Behind the Scenes of This Fine Art Portrait: A Four Light Setup

There are few types of video more valuable than a good behind-the-scenes, particularly when it walks you through the process. Jump backstage in this tutorial to see how this beautiful, fine art portrait was taken with four lights and a purpose-built set.

Typically, I like to share simple lighting techniques that are useful to beginners. It can be daunting to try strobe lighting for the first time, but once you have dipped a toe, you'll see that it doesn't have to be complicated. That said, some of the best and most interesting lighting — particularly for portraiture — combines multiple lights. One way of getting an idea of how that might work before trying it yourself is some sort of tutorial. This video by Eli Infante, is both a behind-the-scenes look and a complete tutorial on how he put together this striking fine art portrait.

When I want to reach for more intricate lighting setups in my portraiture, I typically start with three lights and then add and remove lights or modifiers to hone it. The three lights that act as my foundation are a key light, a fill light, and a hair or rim light. From there I might remove the fill light if I want more contrast, add color to change the mood of the scene, or even add a practical light for scene interest. There are untold combinations, but don't let that put you off. Start simply and then experiment with adding and taking away different lights to see what is possible. If you were to mimic the setup Infante uses in this video, you wouldn't go far wrong!

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2 Comments

Yan Pekar's picture

Thank you for sharing. One question: why do you call it "Fine Art"? What is "Fine Art" about this image? Thank you.

Wilson Stevens's picture

It sounds like you are selling flash units, not taking photos. I have been a professional industrial photographer starting 60 years ago with an 8X10 camera. Equipment does not make the photographer.