Beginner Portraits - 1st time. Have two lights - any help appreciated.

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247
Name
Ian
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#1
OK - I want to start doing some portraits (starting with family and friends obviously!). I have a black and a white background, one of those reflectors that can be white, gold or silver, and two continuous lights with lit-through umbrellas. Any advice or links to using such a set-up would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much
 
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Name
Carl
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#2
Experiment :)

Start with a Teddy Bear. Something that isn't going to complain or move. :)

If you're using a white background, you'll need to light that, so thats one of your lights used. You can shoot "at the background" to reflect or "through the background" from the back.
You can use your reflector to bounce some of the light back onto the subject, though silver side produces harsh light, gold is harsh but warms up whatever the light is hitting.
You can use the white-

Your biggest issues will be hotpots or light fall-off. Your aim will be to light it as evenly as possible. Sometimes 2 lights for the backdrop is necessary, depending on how many people you are packing into a portrait shot.

If you intend to use black backdrops for low-key portraits, you can use your two lights more creatively rather than one being used to power up a backdrop.

There are many youtube tutorials you can find, for free that will be most informative.

F7 is a good starting point for getting things in focus (i'd say upto 3 people, if you can get them in a line, great, gets more difficult when you have "layers" of people - you may have to increase your F-stop to capture more people in focus.

Also, google "Lighting setup examples", you'll find some useful stuff that way too :)


Experiment experiment experiment.!
 
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Name
Dean
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#3
Start with one light. When you have a decent understanding of how that affects both the subject and the background you can think about adding the other one.
 
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Name
Richard
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#4
OK - I want to start doing some portraits (starting with family and friends obviously!). I have a black and a white background, one of those reflectors that can be white, gold or silver, and two continuous lights with lit-through umbrellas. Any advice or links to using such a set-up would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much
As Dean says, start with one light and use the reflector to fill-in the shadow side. Not sure what lights you have, but it's unlikely they'll be bright enough - most affordable continuous lights are feeble, some of the e-bay kits to the point of useless. And you won't have much control with just a shoot-through umbrella to change the quality of the light. You need a studio flash head, with modelling lamp - they start from £100-150, eg Lencarta Smartflash.
 
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