Easy Lighting Magic for People Shots

It’s late August… but with a few ornaments, ribbons, and glitter, suddenly it’s Christmas.

It’s just the back lawn… but with a model and some mood lighting, it becomes a fairy tale.

And with the help of some food coloring, make-up, and test tubes, the living room -- and our model -- become a mad scientist’s laboratory.

Bonnie here, with your last dispatch from our Stock Photo Workshop in Quebec City, Canada. From my post in the back of the room here in Lise Gagne’s personal studio, it appears that the life of a top-selling stock photographer is all about playing pretend.

Today we’re learning how to turn an ordinary scene into something magical… and sometimes all it takes is something really simple.

Like lighting your model from behind.

In our outdoor shoot, we placed a hot light behind our model, giving her a fairytale glow.

This was our set-up:

Easy Lighting Magic for People Shots

And here's our model with a light behind her, casting a golden glow on her hair:

by Cindy Wilson

by Kim Wilson

If you don’t want to pay for expensive lights, you can use ordinary shop lights from Home Depot to get this effect -- though be careful, because they can get hot fast. If you’re working with a model, you’ll want to use them outside where the air temperature can stay cool.

Of course, simply adding more bubbles can help, too (also try smoke, glitter, flower petals… let your creativity run wild). Here our model isn't lit from behind, but she has a nice warm glow on her from a light to the side:

by Patricia Wesslund

And in the studio, we lit our “mad scientist” with a flash from behind to give him a dramatic, theatrical look. In this case, we took it even further by adding fake smoke and a blue tint to the light. Here he is, looking quite mad indeed:

by Kim Wilson

Experiment and play at home. And as Lise told us when we first got here on Friday, don’t do it for the money. Do it for the love of it. The more fun you have, the more likely you are to be successful.

-- Bonnie

Bonnie Caton
Great Escape Publishing

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