Create Beautiful Portraits With a Single Light

It can be very easy to fall into the trap of thinking elegant and nuanced portraiture requires complex lighting. And while there's certainly nothing wrong with a well-designed setup, it's also important to remember that so much can be done with a single light. This great video walks you through just such a setup. 

The setup in this video by Levy Moroshan is basically a modified clamshell, using a beauty dish and a reflector, with the gap being closed and the light and reflector being angled more away from the subject into a narrow shaft, the main effect being a much steeper falloff gradient as neither the source or reflector are aimed directly at the subject, causing the majority of the light to strike the face tangentially. Nonetheless, you still get the generally pleasing clamshell catchlights, making it a great way to add a bit more drama to a very classic lighting setup. Experiment with bringing your subject closer and farther from the shaft of light to vary the falloff. It's a fun setup that provides a great look straight out of camera. And as always, be sure to share your shots in the Fstoppers Community!

[via ISO 1200]

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3 Comments

Christian Berens's picture

this is pretty awesome! I always appreciate seeing BTS for light setups and the idea behind it!

Phil Newton's picture

Love it!! I'll have to try that

Love it and fore shure try it out :)