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Breaking Down the Lighting of a Studio Portrait


Photographer Karl Taylor made this 7-minute walkthrough video after people asked about his lighting setup for a commercial studio portrait he shot and posted to Facebook.

Taylor explains why he does things a certain way. “I argue why I find lighting ratios a waste of time,” the photographer tells PetaPixel.

Here’s the diagram with Taylor’s scribbles showing how things were lit:


…and here’s the finished portrait that resulted from the shoot:

Picture 152

“Ignore lighting ratios,” Taylor says. “Concentrate more on looking at the light itself.”

“So many variables mean that lighting ratios go out the window […] I concentrate on looking at the light, looking at the result, looking at the reflection, looking at the amount of light, and making your decision visually based on what looks right.”

Image credits: Video and images by Karl Taylor and used with permission