Home Photography Portrait Lighting in 10 Minutes

Portrait Lighting in 10 Minutes

by kyngsam


On this article and video, you’ll get 5 one-light studio setups, and we’re going to do it in lower than 10 minutes. I’m utilizing a Profoto A10 for this setup, however you need to use any flash. I’m additionally going to restrict our modifiers to only the fundamentals, so we’ll primarily use an umbrella. For all of our setups, I’ll offer you different choices, no matter what I’m utilizing.

You’ll find our mannequin, Sammy, on Instagram (@boom_shenanigans).

Setup #1: Rembrandt Lighting

Certainly one of my favourite setups is for Rembrandt lighting. For this setup, you’ll want to put the flash at an angle in order that the sunshine falls primarily on one aspect of the face with only a bit of sunshine reaching the far aspect of the topic’s face, often within the form of a triangle (see the picture above).

Right here’s a easy trick for this setup. Ask your topic to look straight into the digital camera after which place the sunshine in a spot the place, from the sunshine’s place, you possibly can solely see a small portion of the far aspect of your topic’s face (see picture beneath).

From there, merely add the modifier onto your gentle supply. I’m simply utilizing a standard shoot through umbrella, which yow will discover on Adorama for round $10. For my digital camera setup, I’m utilizing a Canon RF 50mm f/1.2 lens. I’ve set my publicity (1/200, f/4, ISO 100) in order that if I take a shot with none flash in any way, my picture comes again utterly darkish. I’ve minimize away all of the ambient gentle, that means the one gentle you’re going to see within the picture is coming from the flash that I’ve added.

As a reminder, Rembrandt lighting is characterised by slightly triangle spotlight on the far aspect of your topic’s face. You possibly can management the scale and placement of that triangle by simply merely adjusting the face place. If you would like extra of the spotlight, flip the face slightly bit extra in the direction of the sunshine supply; if you’d like slightly bit much less of the spotlight, flip the face away from it.

The v-flat gives a big white floor for bouncing gentle again onto your topic.

Additionally, if you wish to fill within the shadows, you need to use a v-flat (ours is from V-Flat World) to bounce gentle again onto your topic. These are improbable modifiers to have within the studio, however for those who don’t have one, you need to use a 5-in-1 reflector with the white aspect dealing with the sunshine supply. In fact, you’ll want a stand for the reflector as nicely.

Setup #2: Paramount or Butterfly Lighting

This subsequent lighting setup is usually referred to as Paramount as a result of Paramount Studios usually used this setup when photographing their actors and actresses. It’s additionally referred to as butterfly lighting due to the little butterfly form that it creates within the shadow slightly below the nostril.

To make use of this setup, place the flash immediately above your topic’s head at a downward angle. I’m utilizing the identical umbrella from the earlier setup. This setup is easy and it does a fantastic job of highlighting the hair, in addition to contouring the cheeks and the face. Simply keep in mind, it’s possible you’ll have to (and doubtless ought to) experiment with the peak of the sunshine supply to make sure that you’re getting fill gentle into the eyes. When you’re not getting sufficient gentle into the eyes, simply decrease the sunshine a bit.

Setup #3: Clamshell Lighting

Seize your self a reflector and add it to the earlier setup to get clamshell lighting. Have your topic maintain the reflector round waist-high, or they’ll set it on their lap if seated.

We began with the silver aspect of the reflector dealing with upward and you’ll see that the sunshine bounced off of it and stuffed in all of the shadows whereas additionally including fairly a little bit of catchlight. You possibly can management this in one in all two methods: First, convey the reflector up nearer to your topic’s face; the nearer it will get, the extra gentle goes to fill into the face (transfer it farther away for much less gentle). The opposite means we will management the sunshine utilizing this setup is by merely utilizing the white aspect of the reflector.

When the zipper caught on the 5-in-1 and we couldn’t use the white floor, we resorted to utilizing a foam board.

When you don’t have a reflector, seize a bounce card or something any white – a bit of froth core, poster board, or no matter you might have. Deliver the reflector up near your topic, direct them right into a pose, and seize the shot.

Setup #4: Sq. Lighting

With a sq. lighting setup, we’re primarily filling gentle from all angles. Along with the umbrella and reflector, I’m going to make use of v-flats on either side of my topic. When you don’t have v-flats, seize two reflectors and hold one on all sides with a main gentle on the high and a 3rd reflector on the underside.

An precise, skilled sq. lighting setup can price 1000’s of {dollars}. This can be a quite simple and efficient means of doing the identical factor with out all of the gear. The cool factor in regards to the sq. setup is it does a extremely nice job of filling shadows for your complete face. It creates a really flattering total look, nice for headshots.

Setup #5: Backlit Flat Gentle

For this setup, you’re going to seize a reflector and, brace your self, minimize a gap proper within the middle of it. When you’re fearful in regards to the worth, these items price round $30. Hopefully, you possibly can swing it.

Pointing to the flash simply over the middle of the backdrop

I’ve positioned a flash proper above my background (see the picture above), primarily making a two-light setup utilizing just one gentle. I angled the flash all the way down to skim proper over my topic’s head and bounce off of the reflector and onto my topic’s face. The ensuing gentle resembles a sq. gentle setup however with a hair gentle falling from behind the topic.

You possibly can handhold this setup your self whereas capturing the shot, however I’d suggest getting a reflector stand for those who plan to make use of this setup usually. They’re fairly cheap and can forestall you from throwing out your arms whilst you’re taking pictures.

We hope you loved this text/video on 5 one-light setups for capturing portraits.


P.S. When you’d wish to dive deeper into lighting, try our Flash Photography Training System over at SLR Lounge, which is a component or our full library of Premium workshops.

Make sure you catch our subsequent episode of Mastering Your Craft on Adorama’s YouTube channel subsequent week! If you wish to atone for all of the episodes, be sure to try our playlist!


Concerning the creator: Pye Jirsa is a marriage photographer based mostly in Southern California and the co-founder of SLR Lounge. The opinions expressed on this article are solely these of the creator. You’ll find extra of Jirsa’s work right here. This text was additionally printed here.





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