How to Take Good Portraits with Common Light Sources

Daniel • updated November 5, 2022 • 2 min read

How to take good portraits with common light sources

When it’s dark and rainy outside, you can get creative with your photography at home. Taking portraits with light sources that we see every day but don’t really notice is very exciting. Here are five everyday sources of light.

The art of good portrait photography is to capture a person in a way that looks natural and almost like a documentary, while also focusing on that person. Along with expression, the mood of the lighting is very important.

By using everyday light sources in your portraits, you can give them a very unique, intense feel. But what kinds of lights should be used? We’ve given you six examples here. 

Learn how to start with portrait photography is beneficial for. If you llike to dive deeper into photography read about history of photography timeline here.

Light Source 1 – Bedside lamp

The bedside lamp is another every day, cozy light source. It gives off a soft light through the lampshade and can be used for both portraits of children and moody shots of people or couples in bed. Because most of the light is coming from the side, the shots have a very strong effect.

Light Source 2 – Fireplace

The flickering, warm, reddish light of an open fire gives us a deep-seated sense of comfort and warmth. You can take a great low-key portrait in this kind of setting. Turn on the fireplace, turn off the light above it, and take pictures of your family enjoying the crackling, roaring, and dancing flames.

Make sure the background is calm, try out different points of view, and shoot in raw format. So, when you get home and look at the picture on your PC, you can make the warm colors stand out even more and add a little light to the dark parts. 

For more info on how to take candlelight portraits, read our article.

Light Source 3 – Monitor

The cozy, warm fireplace is the exact opposite of the cold, blue monitor light. The way the person shown looks is also different, less chilled, more focused, and sometimes a little bit tired.

Still, a monitor is a great light source for detailed portraits because the light is even and spread out over a large area. In addition to pictures with glasses and the right reflection, it can be fun to take pictures where the only light source is the monitor and large parts of the room are visible.

Choose the slowest shutter speed possible, ask the person to stay still, and shoot from a tripod to get the right exposure. Also check the hairstyle of your model, and learn about the pictures of hairstyles!

Light Source 4 – Makeup mirror

Portraits with mirrors are interesting in a strange way. On the one hand, the photographer has to find a place where he or she can’t be seen in the mirror.

On the other hand, the person being pictured can be seen twice. Use the mirror’s light, which is usually spread out over a large area, to highlight your model’s well-lit face and make the light source itself a focal point of your shot.

We have a article that shows you how to make perfect makeup for photos!

Light Source 5 – Fluorescent tube

Fluorescent tubes can be used in both the home and the studio. The unique light strip makes an interesting reflection in the eyes, and the long, thin light source makes a smooth, but shaped, light.

So, people who like to do things themselves can use parts from the hardware store to make a permanent light that can be moved around and is also good for making videos.

Light Source 6 – Ringlight

A ringlight is useful. Simply attach a ringlight to your camera or phone’s lens. It ensures that the face is well-lit and adds a mysterious ring around the eyes to the photo.

Using a ringlight is a simple approach to produce high-quality portraits. Pupils have a fascinating ring effect, and there are no shadows. For example, if you’re a daily selfie taker, all you need is an inexpensive clip-on light designed for cellphones.

Read more at 11 Tips for Selfie and Beauty Photography with Ringlight


Tools to bring your portrait photography to life:

Further readings:
Best camera settings for outdoor portraits
How to do light painting photography
Portraits using flash gels
How to Take Blog Photos: Lighting & Setup

Don’t forget to share this article!

By Furoore team member Daniel
Daniel has been supporting the editorial team as a content creator since the end of 2021 and is mainly responsible for portrait photography and related practical topics around cameras, lenses as well as accessories.

Turn your snapshots into awesome portraits.



Related Articles

Your thoughts and questions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *