If the idea of creating multi-light portraits makes you feel the least bit intimidated, this tutorial is for you. Music photographer PJ Pantelis delivers a clear and detailed lesson on how to create professional headshots using just two lights and a reflector.
Pantelis walks you through the basic three-point portrait with key, rim, and fill lights. He begins by drawing out the lighting diagram on paper to demonstrate placement of the three elements that light the subject. He then reviews the gear he uses to create his headshots, and shows how a portrait looks when it is lit with no flashes firing (ambient light only), or with the key light or rim light individually. Finally, he combines the key and rim light, and shows how a silver reflector can fill in the shadows from the key light to create a look popular for glamour portraits.
The ability to create professional headshots is a critical skill for almost any portrait photographer. Even if you typically photograph with available light, understanding the patterns created by light falling on the face from different directions is a great way to improve your portrait photography skills. One thing I particularly liked about this video is that Pantelis himself modeled for the portraits that he took, so you can try this type of setup even if you don’t have a helper around. It will likely be the best selfie that you’ll ever take.