I recently was asked by a client about doing a portrait session, but the client wasn't sure of the exact style he wanted. As I began to explain all the different kinds of lighting over the phone I realized that its not something easily explained verbally. I finally decided to show some examples of different portraits shot using different lighting techniques.
1. Outdoor Available Light Photography:
"Raw and natural looking portrait photography"
2. Indoor Portable Studio lighting and Bounce Flash:
All you really need is some knowledge of studio techniques and portable lighting with a softbox or umbrella. You'd be surprised that you can make studio quality photos just about anywhere. (below: an example of indoor studio lighting against a white wall)
Bounce flash: done correctly can create a completely soft, flattering, and natural look
(Below: to the untrained eye bounce flash looks exactly like a brightly lit room.)
3. Window Light:
(Below: With a bit of overexposure you can get a perfect bright ethereal background when doing photography.This works great with bridal sessions. In this case the background is actually a white curtain back lit by natural light)
4. Classic Hollywood Look: This technique uses continuous lighting rather than flash. It can be a bit uncomfortable for the subjects eyes after a while but it can recreate that icon look we see in old movies produced by spotlights.
5. Outdoor Portable Studio Lighting Technique:
This technique can have a really dramatic look, kind of like the editorial style you'd see in fashion magazines but with outdoor scenery in the background instead of a plain studio backdrop. A modern style which I personally love and use quite frequently as one of my signature looks. You're basically using high powered lighting to tame the brightness of the sun and prevent the subject from looking dark. This technique also produces very vibrant and detailed skies.