This is how high your light source should be for photographing portraits
One of the questions I often hear from people who are new to photography, particularly when using flash is “How high should my light be?”. It’s a difficult one to answer, especially if you’re shooting on location because there are so many variables.
The Koldunov Brothers break their usual silence in this 9-minute video to explore the topic. They offer a lot of tips with practical examples to show how different lighting heights and positions affect how the camera sees the subject.
A lot of the video is pretty basic lighting technique, but they’re things that most people don’t think about until they pick up a camera try to photograph another person. The issues immediately become obvious, although it can be tough for them to figure out why if they don’t know.
There is really no ideal position to have the light. It’s all going to depend on the look you’re trying to achieve and personal taste. There are definitely some things you’ll generally want to avoid, though, unless you’re doing it intentionally for effect. Like, lighting your subject from below.
If you’re still learning how to see light, or you’re still not completely sure about your lighting, then it’s definitely worth a watch.
There’s a lot of great information in there that can help you to solve a lot of your lighting problems as soon as you see them, and to prevent them from coming up in the first place.
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.