Balancing Mood With Lighting

Portraits are about people, their faces and expressions.  The people should be the main subject and stand out from their background — your eyes going directly to their expressions without distractions.

Sometimes we have to think backwards, meaning controlling the lighting for the background and surroundings first, then balancing the lighting on the subjects.  In this example, the color balance in the camera was set to “Shade”,  shifting the color to a colder look.  That works for the background, with a little under exposure so it is a little darker than normal.

Now you have cool blue light on your subjects.  Using my speed light in a 30” beauty dish, a CTO warming filter was added to correct the color on my subjects and the light adjusted to blend properly with the background.

In post production, the bottom of the image was burned-in to darken and bring your eyes back to the subject – their faces and expressions.

Many thanks to my subjects, Christina Blaylock and her family.  Christina is a local graphic designer in Conway.