Monday, October 19, 2009

Basic Lighting, Pro Results

Here's the Postscript from my most recent book, co-authored by Vered Koshlano, Studio and Location Lighting Secrets. Thought you might like the simplicity of using just one light.

It doesn’t get much simpler or easier than this: a constant-light main light (right), a reflector (left) and a collapsible background. For the portraits on this page, the light you see positioned above and to camera left was turned off.

This type of simple set-up can help produce some beautiful portraits. The top photograph shows the effect of using the main light and the reflector. As you can see, the reflector bounced some of the light from the main light onto the opposite side of the model’s face. It’s an okay shot, one that shows the distinctive features of the model.

The bottom shot, however, is my favorite from the session (during a meeting in a hotel, no less). It shows the effect of using only the main light (the reflector was moved out of position). I like the way the deep shadow on the model’s face adds a sense of drama to the image. I also like the way the model is making direct eye contact with my lens.

The lighting set-up was courtesy of Westcott: Spiderlites and softboxes. My camera: my trusty Canon G10.

Here's another, and maybe surprising to some, tip: the closer the light is to the subject, the softer the effect.

Explore the Light - and keep the light simple,

1 comment:

Mark Coons said...


An interesting post, especially as I have been considering the Spiderlite TD5 (was the one you used a TD5?).

The argument one hears against the Spiderlite (when using floresent bulbs) is that the light is not constant enough, that it flickers (not the website!).

Is the TD5 a good candidate for portrait shots taken in a smaller space?