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Five Portrait Lighting Patterns You Should Know

Traditional portrait lighting is the foundation of all good portraiture.  This is something I stress in several of my eBooks, and in this post, I’ll describe the five basic lighting patterns and include a video for reference.  I hope you find it useful. The five lighting patterns are listed here: Short Lighting:  good for most […]


Natural Light and Hotspots

I like to work without unnecessary complications. If there’s beautiful natural light available, and it meets my needs for a certain look, then I’m not going to introduce flash, or extra reflectors and flags for that matter. I say, if the light’s there, and it works, then use it as-is. The trick is to know […]


Good Backgrounds Are Everywhere

Do you need an exciting location to make great people photos?  Not really.  As a matter of fact, the more “location” you put in the shot, the less emphasis you’re going to have on the person featured in it.  Sometimes that’s okay, because sometimes the story is not just about the person, but also about […]

Copyright Bill Gekas

Interview: Bill Gekas

Bill Gekas is a portrait photographer residing in Melbourne, Australia.  His Old Masters-style portraiture featuring his daughter are skillfully crafted and captivating.  Here, we talk about his tools and methodology, and how he developed his unique style. How did your style come about?  Was it something you envisioned and decided to try to create, or […]


Qualities of a Good Subject

Where does the magic come from and why isn’t it always there?  One person can get in front of your camera with all the promise in the world, and you’re left with dull, empty portraits that you can’t quite explain.  Nothing there.  No life, and what seems to be a total lack of connection between […]


Maintain the Portrait Light Position

I’ve noticed that many photographers, even those with years of experience shooting portraiture, seem to get lost with their lighting when posing their subjects in new ways. For example, a good family portrait and/or headshot photographer, having recently added Boudoir to their list of services, might suddenly realize they’re in new lighting territory. One common […]


Control The Effect of Natural Light

In my previous post, Window Silhouettes and Exposure Adjustments, I talked about how a simple change of shutter speed or ISO can bring out more detail from a window scene.  There, we started with an all white (essentially blown out) scene outside the window, then lowered the exposure to allow the sky and clouds to […]


Natural Light Portraiture: On Your Terms

For a photographer who is more comfortable working with studio light, sometimes I feel that I’m a little out of my comfort zone when it comes to natural light portraiture.  I like having total control over my lighting, and with natural light, I have to give up a little bit of that control.  I see […]


One-Light Portraits, Dealing With Dark Backgrounds

One-light setups are popular, and it’s easy to see why; they make creating portraits so easy, you almost can’t go wrong.  Place a light somewhere in the proximity of the traditional 45/45 position and you’ve got solid dramatic lighting.  Nail your exposure, and you’re golden. But there are some problems inherent with this type of […]


Maternity, Baby Belly Photography

Michael Zelbel returns with his new book, The Art of Baby Belly Photography, in which he covers the popular topic of maternity portraiture.  If you’ve been doing family portraiture and/or weddings for awhile, you’ve probably been asked about this.  In fact, my boudoir photography clients often returned for maternity portraits, then newborn, then baby and […]