Light Bulb Portraiture? Why not

“The pictures have a reality for me that the people don’t. It is through the photographs that I know them.” —Richard Avedon

bulb.setup“Light,” as a wise photographer once told me, “is light.” The most important characteristics of any studio lighting setup are the quality and the quantity of the output. The kind of hardware you use has an impact on both aspects but the quality of the light can further be affected with light modifiers.

Continuous lighting is “on” continuously, much like the sun, enabling you to use your in-camera light meter to measure the light falling on your subject. It lets you see how the light— shadows and highlights—fall on your subject and because these kinds of lights are often inexpensive, they make a good starting point for anyone on a budget.

Continuous lighting sources typically use quartz or photoflood bulbs that can be hot, leading to the use of the term “hot lights” to describe them. An increasing number of continuous lighting tools are being made with fluorescent lights producing cool “hot lights.” But what about using light bulbs? Light bulbs! Today’s portrait was made using two LED light bulbs from Home Depot and… Fong’s Lightbulb Adapter Kit contains a Lightsphere Adapter mounted on a Light Socket Adapter that has an AC power plug attached. The Adapter is compatible with Fong’s Lightsphere Collapsible Speed Mount or SpeedSnoot and fits atop any lightstand. When paired with a Lightsphere Collapsible Speed Mount Diffuser and an LED light bulb it produces “true-to-life skin tones.” When the Lightbulb Adapter Kit is paired with a SpeedSnoot, the result is a spotlight effect that’s useful for adding impact to a background.

If you want to try some studio lighting techniques without going broke give Gary Fong’s products a try and visit your local Home Depot or Loews for some LED bulbs and make some portraits.

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For more on studio lighting techniques, pick up a copy of Joe’s book, “Studio Lighting Anywhere” which is available from your favorite book or camera stores as well as including

Author: Joe Farace

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