Portrait photography lighting setup is nothing fancy. It is just the solid portrait lighting that is favorable to the business community. There are lots of corporations and companies that want business photography portraits for brochures and advertising purposes, and this is the perfect portrait photography lighting set-up for the portrait photographer that needs to get something nice and get it fast. Portrait photography lighting is not a bunch of complicated scientific principles.
Conveying information and giving shape are the two main purposes. In portrait photography, the brightness of background matters. In portrait photography, if the background is near the subject, it’s difficult to light separately. The same light that hits the subject also hits the background. That’s why it is well and good to have ten to fifteen feet between the subject and the background. That kind of distance allows the background to fall off. You can also the control the focus of the background by having a possible distance.
The purpose of the background light in portrait photography is to relieve the shadows so that the idea you’re attempting to portray in your photo is achieved. The fill light lightens the shadows. The darker the shadows are, the more dramatic the shot. Depending on the subject and the background in your portrait photo, the intensity of the background may need to be either brighter or darker than the last time you used it. It should all depend on the individual situation in each portrait. If the background is dark and the subject is a family portrait, maybe the background light needs to be pumped up a bit. Maybe you want the subject to blend into the background for some reason. Then in that case, maybe the background light isn’t needed at all. It will all depend on your vision.
The purpose of hair-light photography is to separate the subject from the background and to supplement a little more dimension to the shot. A light placed from above and slightly behind will give roundness to the shoulders and lightens the upper edge of the subject. Suppose if the subject is dark and the photographer wishes to keep the background dark too, then this light tends to brighten just the hair and shoulders separating and brightening in the right proportion. If the hair light is too forward, then it will highlight the nose than brightening the hair alone.