How to Set Up Lighting for School Portraits

Whenever you are lighting school portraits, there are several things that you will need to keep in mind. Lighting the pictures well can help to make the pictures turn out beautifully. Most kids do not look forward to their pictures being taken and usually do not like the end result. However, with the correct lighting, you will find that there will be plenty of reason for the kids to look forward to having their pictures taken year after year.

Materials Needed

  • Off Camera Flash
  • Camera

Step 1 - Know Your Location

Before you begin to get all of your accessories and lighting together you will first need to check out the venue that you will be shooting at. This will help you to get a good feel for the amount of lighting that you will need. Look to see how much lighting the area already has. If it is a well lit location, then you will simply need to focus on having lights that will enhance the natural lighting that is already there. If it is a darker location, then make sure that the lights that you have will not overpower anything. You do not want lights that are too bright as they will wash out the picture.

Step 2 - Location of the Lights

The location of the lighting is very important with these pictures. It is a good idea to have the lights in front of the child and make it where it is not too close. The lights should be behind you as well but make sure that they are not directly behind you or they will cast a shadow and ruin the picture. Pay attention to the shadows that are created with the lights and the flash to make sure that they do not cause any dark images in the picture.

Step 3 - Comfort

Remember that the lights are going to eventually get pretty hot. You want to make sure that you are comfortable and the kids are comfortable. If the area becomes too hot then it could mess up hair and cause sweat stains on good clothes. That is why a fan is a good idea to have nearby. Just make sure that it is not blowing directly on anybody as this could also mess up a perfectly good hair day. Because the lights are going to be hot you will benefit from having them as far back as you can, just make sure that when you do this you do not mess up the overall effect of the picture itself.

Step 4 - Lights

The lights are going to have a lot to do with how the picture itself turns out. You may want to play around with some lights on the side of the subject as well. Just be sure that they are not going to be easily knocked over or messed with by bored children who are waiting in line. You do not want it to seem like a spot light is being put on the child. So be careful with the amount of lights that you do use.

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