5 Tips for Lighting the Background of a Portrait

When it comes to lighting for portraits, we mostly focus on learning how to light our subjects; after all, that is what the eye is drawn. But a complete image involves accounting for how the background is lit as well, and that can be the difference that makes your photos truly professional. This helpful video tutorial will give you five tips to improve the lighting of your portrait backgrounds.

Coming to you from Tony Gale with B&H Photo Video, this excellent video tutorial will show you five tips for better lighting of your portrait backgrounds. Lighting a background is about more than simply creating a balanced exposure across the entire frame. It can be a chance to expand the creativity of your shot by using careful technique to frame your subject and draw more attention to them. And with the proper skills, you can make the same background go from dark to white simply by controlling where the light is directed and its intensity. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Gale. 

And if you would like to really master your lighting for portraits, be sure to check out "Illuminating The Face: Lighting for Headshots and Portraits With Peter Hurley!"

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2 Comments

Lee Christiansen's picture

Charcoal grey is the best background for me. Takes light and colour really well. I'll often light my headshots with a single strobe on the floor with a grid pointing to illuminate behind the subject or maybe a simple reflector pointing horizontally and allowing a gentle fall off of light.

My favourite colour which works on every skin tone is 1/2 Plus Green, which is actually a corrective gel to balance against florescent lights. And is very easy to tweak the hue to a more olive tone.

Andrew Eaton's picture

Some very cool ideas there :)