Free portrait lighting cheat sheet

Portrait photography cheat sheet

Feeling in the dark about portrait lighting? Whether it’s a flashgun or a softbox, off-camera lighting has confounded many aspiring portrait photographers.

But your portrait photography doesn’t need to suffer because of this. Portrait lighting need not be so complicated. Whether you’re in a professional studio or shooting a model in your home photo studio (see our 10 tips for setting up your home photo studio), often the simplest portrait lighting set-ups yield the most classic and dramatic effects.

By experimenting with different poses you can see what works and get new portrait ideas to apply to your next shoot.

To help you along we’ve put together our latest photography cheat sheet, a visual guide taking you through several simple portrait lighting set-ups, and showing the different effects they create.

Our cheat sheet shows you how to use different kinds of off-camera lighting, from soft boxes to reflectors, and at the end we suggest a few striking poses to use with these portrait lighting effects (you might also like our portrait photography cropping guide to use when editing your portraits).

Feel free to drag and drop our infographic on to your desktop and save it for a handy reference the next time you have someone in your home photo studio.

Finally, if you like this infographic, you might also like our free family portrait photography cheat sheet, as well as our free posing guide with 54 cool portrait ideas.

Free portrait lighting cheat sheet


99 Common Photography Problems (and how to solve them)
10 rules of photo composition (and why they work)
73 photo locations to shoot before you die
Digital camera effects from A-Z
Fine art nude photography: tips and techniques from lighting to posing

  • Still Focused Photography

    In these situations are the softboxes and backlights used with continuous lighting or flash? If it is continuous lighting where does the flash come into play?