When lighting a portrait remember to keep it simple. Consider the use of one light and modifier at first. This is considered your main light and set the power according to your preference and vision. Take a few test shots to determine if the light matches your vision and adjust accordingly. The use of the histogram on camera may be of use to determine proper exposure. Since this image was shot outdoors, Instead of adjusting the power of the flash I simply moved it away from the subject. A second light can then be added to “fill” the shadows. This light is usually set to lower power than your main light. More lights can be added but I rarely find it necessary to use more than two or three lights and a reflector at most for portraits.
In the example below the image was shot outdoors with camera and flash’s in manual mode for total control over the lighting.The main light set to 100% power. The second light used as a fill only set to 20% and distance of flash to subject both adjusted. Both lights were used with white umbrella modifiers for a softer light. Although umbrellas tend to “spill” light and not my first choice for indoor or studio lighting they tend to work fine for outdoor use since “spilling” of light isn’t as much of a concern outdoors. For indoor use I do prefer using light boxes with grids for more control of the direction of the lights and therefor less spilling.
In Post production the image was converted to black and white to place more emphasis on the subject and avoid distraction of the background.
Long exposure photography involves using slow shutter speeds to capture moving elements within an image. It helps to have a stationary object within the frame to complement this effect. To achieve this a tripod is necessary. If using a DSLR consider using the mirror lock up function and a wireless or wired shutter release cable to eliminate any camera shake. The image to the right was shot at night using a 10 stop neutral density filter since the moon was fairly bright behind the thin cloud layer in the sky. The camera was set to ISO of 200, manual focus, and camera manual mode used. I set the aperture to f16 for a large depth of field and also to cut down the amount of light entering the camera for a longer exposure. I took a few test shots using different shutter speeds until I was happy with the final exposure. The final image was obtained using a 30 second exposure. This shutter speed was long enough to capture movement in the clouds and water for a soft, surreal effect I was trying to achieve. In post processing, it was converted to black and white and slight adjustments to contrast was made. Noise can be an issue when shooting long exposures and some noise reduction was implemented in post processing as well.
Adding some effects to your photo in post processing can give an ordinary image that dramatic look. Consider using a background with good contrast to start with. In this example I used a cloudy sky. Most of the work here is in the post processing. I use Lightroom and Photoshop Elements to achieve the final effect but you can use just about any image editor. First I wanted to bring out the nice contrast in the cloud layer so I increased the contrast in the upper part of the frame. To add the brownish tone to the overall image I used a sepia tone and played with tint, color and grain. This process is done by trial and error but with a little extra time spent in post processing good results can be achieved.