3 Tips for Creating Dramatic Lighting in Your Portraits

Lighting holds the keys to the overall feel of an image for the most part, particularly with portraiture. In this video, you will see behind-the-scenes of a dramatic, moody portrait shoot with some tips on how to replicate the style yourself.

In the very early days of my interest in photography, I became obsessed with portraiture. Long-term readers of my original articles might remember that I even featured a portrait of the day, every day, for nearly 1,000 days on Pinterest. That board was pulling in over 100,000 views per month at its peak and I believe some of that was due to my tastes in portraiture being similar to many people's. I was always drawn to the dark and the moody, with portraits that had me imagining the backstory and asking questions. It's a tricky type of image to create and light plays an integral part.

In this video, one of my favorite portrait photographers — and frankly, humans — Emily Teague, teams up with Adorama to take you behind-the-scenes on a brilliantly styled shoot with dramatic lighting. One of the most important tools in this sort of style is somewhat lowkey in itself and easily overlooked by beginners: the v-flat. In my commercial product photography, I quickly became aware of how crucial and black v-flat was in controlling light. Putting the black v-flat on the opposite side to your key light can enhance the shadows and stop the light spilling and reflecting in a way that doesn't work to your advantage.

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Emily Teague's picture

Thank you so so much!!! ^__^

Chris Rogers's picture

Nice. I have shoot coming up that these tips are really going to help out with. Thanks!

Emily Teague's picture

So happy to hear that. Thanks Chris!

Tim Lauria's picture

Hi Emily! I am not a fashion/portrait photog however I very much enjoyed your video. So much positive energy and a refreshing working relationship with your client! Nicely done!

Emily Teague's picture

I really appreciate that Tim, thanks! :)

grgurb's picture

I always enjoy the learning videos from Adorama. For a hobbyist the tips and techniques are priceless.

Emily Teague's picture

So happy to hear this Gregory!! :)