There are several ways to set up lighting for family portraits. Using a 2 light setup for family portrait gives you more possibilities for illuminating small or large groups. It can create balanced lighting to ensure everyone appears good in the frame without harsh shadows on the face. In this article, we will break it down on how to achieve this setup, starting from the choice of equipment to some tips for better portrait images. Read on to get what you need.
Choose two suitable lights for family portrait
Continuous lights and strobes are two common lighting types that you can choose for the family portrait. Here we will focus on the continuous type and tell you what to consider when making the purchase.
Sufficient power output: Select the one that is bright enough to adequately illuminate the subjects and the scene. The power output will be determined by criteria such as room size, group size, desired depth of focus, and camera sensitivity (ISO).
Color temperature consistency: Make sure the color temperatures of both lights match or are balanced. This helps to keep consistent and natural-looking skin tones across the photograph. You may accomplish this by using gels or LED lights of adjustable color temperatures. The COLBOR CL330, for example, is a good choice. Its color temperature is adjustable from 2700K to 6500K. In addition, it features the color balance function to adjust to red or green tint. This allows it to match your already-have light sources and gives the subjects natural skin tones if it is adjusted to red tint.
Adjustable intensity: Continuous lights with adjustable intensity or power output are useful in 2 light setup for family portrait. This versatility allows you to manage the quantity of light that strikes the subjects and adjust for varied lighting conditions or creative effects.
Heat management: Continuous lighting creates heat, thus heat control is essential to avoid discomfort or any risks throughout the shooting. Look for lights with built-in cooling systems, or use external fans as needed.
Compatibility with softboxes or diffusion: Check if the continuous lights are compatible with softboxes, diffusers, or other light modifiers in order to generate soft and diffused lighting. This enables you to minimize harsh shadows on the family's faces and soften the light source.
Sturdy and adjustable: Select continuous lights that are both robust and flexible so you may place them at whatever height or angle you require. This adaptability enables you to get the 2 light setup for your family portrait.
Remember that these factors might change based on your tastes, the available gear, and the location of the shoot. It's wise to investigate and try a variety of continuous lights to see which ones best meet your requirements.
Position the key light to illuminate family portraits without harsh shadows
Set up the first light, which serves as the key light in this 2 light setup for family portrait. Place it at a 45° angle to the group, just above their eye level. This results in attractive lighting while avoiding harsh shadows. Adjust the distance between the subjects based on the desired lighting brightness.
Add a fill light to fill in shadows
The second light is a fill light for softening the shadows cast by the aforementioned light source. Position it opposite the key light, at a 45° angle to the subjects. Adjust the brightness to obtain a balanced lighting ratio. If you do not have a second light, you can use a reflector or diffuser instead.
Modify two lights for family portraits to get pleasing illumination
To provide softer, more diffused illumination, attach softboxes, diffusers, or umbrellas to the lights. These can eliminate harsh shadows and aid in the balanced distribution of light. To regulate the direction and dispersion of light, change the modifiers' location and angle.
Test and adjust to see if all family members look good in the frame
To evaluate the lighting and make any required modifications, take a few test photographs. Analyze the portrait's exposure, shadows, and general appearance. Adjust the lighting position, intensity, or modifiers as necessary to get the desired outcome.
More tips for 2 light setup for family portrait
When illuminating the family portrait with a two-light setup, you should pay attention to the lighting consistency, consider the background, avoid facial shadows cast by people in the group, create depth and dimension in the frame, and keep communicating with the family members. All these ensure better family portrait outputs. Read on to get more details.
Ensure consistent lighting: Make sure the lighting is consistent across the whole group. Try your best to create even illumination, with no one individual looking considerably brighter or darker than the others. This requires you to place your two photography lights properly or make efficient use of natural light sources.
Consider the background: Check the background and make sure that it is well illuminated to preserve a balanced composition and eliminate distractions. If required, use accent lights or spotlights to draw attention to certain objects or separate the whole family from the background.
Avoid facial shadows: Be aware of any shadows that members of the group may cast on other members. To reduce unpleasant shadows on faces, adjust the lighting or utilize reflectors.
Create depth and dimension: Use back or hair lighting to make the family group stand out from the background. This will bring depth and dimension to the family portraits, keep the image from seeming flat, and help to create visual interest.
Communicate with family members: Communicate well with the family members throughout the photoshoot. Teach them where to stand relative to the light sources so that everyone is illuminated properly and appears good in the frame.