Learn How This Dramatic Nighttime Portrait Was Lit and Shot

Using multiple lights can enable complex and innovative creative opportunities that simply would not be possible with just a single light or natural light. This fantastic video tutorial will show you how this dramatic nighttime portrait was lit with three lights. 

Coming to you from Eli Infante with Westcott Lighting, this great video tutorial will show you how he lit and shot this dramatic nighttime portrait. Though multi-light setups are more complex, notice that all the same fundamentals of single-light setups apply. One particularly important thing to note is how Infante builds up the shot. He does not just turn on every light and try to balance them simultaneously. Instead, he first gets his key light right, then the two background lights, before checking all of them together to fine-tune them. This makes it much easier to see the exact effect each light is having and to adjust them accordingly. Lastly, note how Infante carefully gets the lights right before setting off the smoke bombs, as they only work for a limited time. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Infante. 

If you would like to learn more about lighting for portraiture, be sure to check out "Illuminating The Face: Lighting for Headshots and Portraits With Peter Hurley!"

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7 Comments

John Leigh's picture

hi I was looking for the Dramatic Nighttime Portrait and the video posted is about 5 tips on taking portraits - wonder if something got mixed up ...?
many thanks

Alex Cooke's picture

Oops, thank you! Should be fixed.

Jeff McCollough's picture

Wrong video...

Graham Taylor's picture

That image could 1000% be shot with a single light. It would take more work in post to layer up, but there are cost-effective workarounds for simply more equipment.

Matt Rennells's picture

The rim lights on the model - especially if they were gelled would be very difficult to do with stacking layers. Do you need $1000 of lighting gear - no, but having 3 lights (even if they were cheap Chinese ones) would be worth the time it would take in photoshop afterwards.

Jacques Cornell's picture

Oh, look! More cheesecake!
(Yawn)

Alessandro Biehl's picture

love the shot! all the smoke doesnt make sense to me though, i have this car and the only time this would happen is if the whole engine blew up haha. similar to taking a picure next to a laptop with all sorts of smoke billowing out, like what wrong with it lol.