Story and Photography by Kelly Funk
Environmental portraiture and artificial lighting done properly go together like a fine wine and a gourmet meal or a beer and great barbeque — take your pick, both are delicious! Utilized too strongly or from a direction that’s not complementary to the available light and it can have results that are more like chocolate and garlic: interesting, but maybe tried once is good enough. Personally, I use artificial lighting a lot during environmental portrait shoots. I like the effects and also the challenge it brings to creating what I see in my mind’s eye.
Of course, it’s not a requirement of strong imagery. There are endless examples of fantastic shots done without any artificial lighting, but knowledge is power, and the more options we have, the more we’re able to create without limits.
There’s a confusing amount of options around how to light a subject, what system to use and if a diffuser like a soft box is always necessary. To better explain some techniques and equipment options, I’ll utilize some image examples to hopefully bring some clarity to these questions …