How to Create Short Lighting for Portraits in Under Two Minutes
Posted on February 11 2019
Short lighting is a classic photography lighting setup in which the primary light is used to illuminate the side of the model's face furthest from the camera.
With light falling on the off-camera side of the face, the nearest side of the face is left in beautiful shadow.
The advantage of short lighting, which our good friend Kat Armendariz of hushXpose in Las Vegas shares with us in the video above, is that it's both slimming and contouring light.
As you can see in Kat's video, short lighting can also ramp up the drama in a portrait.
And though this method of lighting for a portrait might look complicated, it is actually straightforward and easy to pull off given a little direction from a pro like Kat!
The Click Props Backdrops Wooden Door Blue Backdrop used in the original shot shown above added wonderful texture and structure to the photo, not to mention a bright pop of color.
Using her usual setup of a Sony a7R II with a Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM and camera settings of 1/100s, f/2.2, and ISO100, Kat captured another portrait of her husband, Ephraim, that harkens back to his days as a rocker on the Strip in Las Vegas.
The Sheet Steel Backdrop used in this photo has some grit to it that works beautifully with the faint hint of smoke in the portrait.
As you can see in the diagram above, short lighting is all about the relationship of the subject to the light source.
In this case, Kat used two StrobePro X60S TTL Wireless SpeedLites in a softbox positioned at about a 45-degree angle to Ephraim.
As a result, the light softly illuminates the far side of his face while the side of his face nearest the camera is in shadow just like you want with short lighting!
Of course, in addition to having the right lighting and right backdrop, you have to have the right rapport with the model as well.
In Kat's case, it's hard not to have rapport with Ephraim, given that he's her husband.
But if you can't build trust and rapport with typical clients, it won't matter what the lighting and backdrop look like! Be yourself, be fun, encourage your clients to get into the shoot, and you'll have far better shots as a result.
- How to Create Beauty Portrait Lighting in Under Two Minutes
- How to Create Rembrandt Portrait Lighting in Under Two Minutes
Kat Armendariz is a published studio photographer in Las Vegas. She has a passion to create out-of-the-box portraiture and to give women an experience that will be a stepping stone to new found confidence.
Her photo studio sits in the heart of Las Vegas where she gets to work with incredible clients from all over the globe. Her studio, hushXpose, is a compilation of her two studio names: Hush Hush Shoot (boudoir photography), and Pose Las Vegas (glamour photography).
hushXpose offers an all-inclusive Hollywood experience where Kat and her all-female team work with clients one-on-one to create custom sets and scenes tailored to their clients.
Kat and her husband, Ephraim Armendariz, also own the US District for Click Props Backdrops, which specializes in professional-grade heavy-duty vinyl studio backdrops. Click Props Backdrops let you choose from an extensive and exclusive range of multi-award-winning backgrounds and floorgrounds to give you the opportunity of offering clients a multi-set portrait experience.