Learn to light portraits by photographing vegetables
Today seems to be a day for portrait related posts. We’ve had the breakdown studio lights from Mark Wallace. And a complete start to finish location portrait process from Francisco Hernandez. Now, from Ed Verosky, we have another way to practice portrait lighting and experiment. Photographing vegetables.
It might seem like a bit of an odd subject at first for practising portrait lighting. But many vegetables, as well as fruits, can offer a great insight into how light works. Like people, they often have curves in all kinds of strange places. They reflect specular highlights and cast shadows. As do many other objects one can experiment with.
Even though they’re not people, it’s an easy way to quickly see the effect of changing the light source. How the position, size, distance, or number of light sources will affect how it presents to the subject and its environment. To translate this over to human subjects, one only needs to scale things up.
While they might not be the obvious subjects for learning, they are effective. Fully understanding the principles of light, and actually trying it, will allow you to light anything. A vegetable, an egg, pool balls, a person, or anything else.
John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.