I’ve been working on a series of new portraits for an upcoming project, and I thought I might mention a lighting technique that sometimes works great. I call it stadium lighting, and the idea is you include one of your lights aimed at the camera…similar to stadium lights overhead. Adding lights aimed directly at the camera offers some creative choices. First, depending on your aperture and light source, you can make the lights starbursts or flared halos. If you need more flare in your image, Photoshop offers a great flare tool that is easy to use..Filter-Render-Lens Flare. You can place the flare where you want it, and choose different styles of flare. For more atmospherics, try adding smoke or chalk in front the lights.
For the image at top, I used 4 Elinchrom ELB400s. The main light on the model was a 10 degree gridded flash just hitting his face. I used a blue-gelled flash on the floor aimed at the gritty wall for a background light. And the two lights aimed at the camera are standard reflector ELB 400s. The hard-edged lights add contest and help define muscle tone in the final image. Try it out on one of your portraits! You don’t always have to hide the lights!