While you can absolutely create pro-level portraits with a single light, using multiple lights will allow you to create more advanced and precise setups that simply aren’t possible with a single source. One of the most important secondary lights a portrait photographer can use is the kicker, and this excellent video tutorial will show you both what they are and how they are used to create more effective images.
Come to you from John Gress, this great video tutorial will show you what kicker lights are and how photographers use them for portrait work. Simply put, a kicker light is an accent light that helps highlight the edges of the subject. While this can be a nice effect, they can actually be especially crucial when working with a background that is close in color to the subject’s hair, skin, or clothing. Without them, it can be hard to tell where the subject ends and the background begins, but adding a kick helps separate them from the background. Watch the video above for the full recap of Gress.
If you want to continue learning how to light a portrait, be sure to check out “Lighting the Face: Lighting for Portraits and Portraits with Peter Hurley!”