Using the Para 222 for Portraiture

The Para 222 is one of Karl’s favourite modifiers, and in this portrait photography class you’ll see exactly why.

Karl uses two different lighting setups for this class, demonstrating the versatility of this popular modifier. You’ll see how you can achieve completely different results with just small adjustments and why the shape and reflective properties of parabolic lighting modifiers allows the user such a great degree of control.

In this portrait photography class we cover the following:

  • Portrait photography — Tips for portrait photography
  • Lighting modifiers for studio photography — How to use a Para 222
  • Two light setup for portraiture
  • Three light setup for portraiture
  • How to add a hair light for portrait photography

To learn more about parabolic lighting watch our “Understanding Parabolic Lighting” live show, where Karl explains the science behind these popular modifiers and how to use them.

If you have any questions about this class please post in the comments section below.

  

Comments

  1. In Norway you used equipment for around 100.000,- pound plus the iMac Pro 😉 to make that picture.
    Nice job!

    1. Hi Trond, the Para 222 was certainly a requirement but we could have put pretty much any studio light in it as long as it had a protruding flash tube. The camera could have been anything half decent. That would considerably lower the overall cost although I admit the Para 222 is not cheap but the results from it and ease of use are exceptional.

  2. Great photos! A precise light, but not as restrictive as using smaller point lights. I imagine this is quite convenient when you are looking for some flexibility with posing. I have taken quite a liking to the catch light from the 222, though others may disagree.

    1. Hi Peter, yes you are absolutely right the 222 does give your model a lot of room for manoeuvre. I also like the catchlight, other’s prefer to change it in post.

  3. Great video. Nice to see what can be achieved with top talent and equipment.

    I have the para 220 fb with 2400w ringlight P. I can also mount a Unilite head, but due to the older design of the focus system the Unilite would be off-axis slightly. Any tips on using the ringlight for portraiture with 220 fb, or the off-axis unilite, in a similar scenario to yours?

    Further, in your photos, how far was the model from the para 222 and which lens was used? Thanks.

    1. Hi Timo, I think you would get very similar results with the ring flash with the Para in the old design as the lighting results are similar. I had the Para in the soft focus position and I Markie would have been between 2.5-3.5m away.

      1. Hello Karl, thanks for the geometry. Tried this and other setups in three shoots past month. I have the 220 fb with ringlight as told. It can be up to 45 degrees on camera left if one wants, but better say about 10 degrees camera left. Then just turning the reflector a bit one can achieve different side lightings if needed. Also, one can do full frontal just by stepping in front of the reflector, it being only 10 degrees off axis anyway. With the reflector slightly off axis a longer lens can be used just shooting by the left side of the reflector which is handy. This is a very natural light and can do full body shots easily, also light a background in a natural manner given a suitable distance between background and model to achieve needed background lighting.

        One more question though. I tried Bron 30×120 stripboxes with grids on camera left and right slightly behind model to create highlight and separation on the hair and sides of the models dress. The result is ok, but somehow fights with the look of the para 220 fb naturalness and not satisfied with it. There is separation which can be achieved but something is the picture is better with less separation and just para 220. Perhaps the light quality from softboxes somehow messes with the light falloff pattern produced by para 220? Given that this would be the case, are there other alternatives than using smaller paras to create separation in hair/dress as described? Would a beauty dish with grid or just bare reflectors with tight grids produce a separation more in harmony with the light falloff pattern of fb220/222 be in your experience? If one uses other paras to create separation, what would the placement be in that case. I have the 133 and could try with that. Thanks!

        1. Hi Timo, you hit the nail on the head with this comment ‘somehow messes with the light falloff pattern produced by para 220?’ Yes exactly you don’t really want to destroy the lovely fall off on the edges from the Para. If necessary I’d suggest some tight grids to pick out very selective areas.

  4. Hello Karl,

    Why do you stand above your models when shooting portraits? I see some artist stand above and some below but I would like your take.

    Thanks,

    David

    1. Hi David, for portraits I find it slightly more flattering if eye level or slightly above to open the eyes. If shooting a model 3/4 or full length for fashion then I’ll go lower to make them look more powerful.

Leave a Comment