Do you know?

Do you know?

Do you know what will make the biggest difference in the appearance of your portrait? 

Which one of these do you think would have the biggest impact on the appearance of your portrait:

🔲  The camera used?
🔲  Posing?
🔲  Location?
🔲  The lighting?
🔲  The composition?
🔲  Black and white vs. Colour?

As I look at social media today I come across advertising that promises to help you make money with your camera by taking this or that course or by following this 10-step process. Another ad claims you can make more money, by getting more clients with a set of cards offering 64 proven poses that sell. 

female head and shoulder portrait
Two-third view with broadside Rembrandt light.

Well there are many things that will play a role in the impact any image has, but I can assure you, you’re not likely to find the answer in a 10-step process or on a set of posing cards. My 50-plus years experience has taught me the leading characteristic of a photographic image is the lighting. After all, photography is painting with light, and if the light is NOT right your painting can’t possibly be right. 

I recently listened to a podcast by Joey Lawrence where he very clearly states one of the most important pieces of equipment a photographer can invest in is his or her lights. The quality of light produced by a strobe or studio flash along with the options to control that light will have a greater impact on the created image than all the other factors combined. 

With light, the artist controls the mood of the image. Having the right light is the tip of the iceberg. The important part is hidden and you have to go looking for it. It’s hidden in knowledge and experience. Do you know the impact of colour temperature on your image? What’s the right light ratio for the portrait you are trying to create? What is the right style for the subject you are photographing? How many types of lighting or lighting styles are there? 

Loop, and 

Which one is right for your subject and situation?  When using split, loop, or Rembrandt you must also decide on whether that should be used in either broad or short-side light. 

The male needs more detail and character expressed in the face.

Male head and shoulder portrait
Full face portrait with loop light at a 4:1 ratio.


Creating a portrait is NOT about creating a road map of your subject’s face. You are making an impactful statement about your subject. You must first know your subject, their story, and the statement they want to make. Only then can you choose the right lighting tools for your creative statement.

Whether you are looking for a business portrait or a legacy portrait to pass on to your children, my years of experience and sincere desire to create the perfect statement for you will ensure you get an image you treasure and be proud to display.

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