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Lighting is Easy Blog

Free resource for learning how to use off-camera flash and studio lighting.

One Light Portrait

Chuck Vosburgh - Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Photographer: Chuck Vosburgh, Model: Ninell Taveras

This image was photographed in my 1 Light, 1 Reflector 15 Looks workshop last month in Oldsmar Florida and proves you can create a classic portrait with just one light and a reflector. This uses the "loop" style of lighting where the shadow cast under the nose creates a small loop shape (there's an article all about this style on this blog). The main light was a medium sized soft-box camera left and a large soft gold reflector on the right to provide fill. To lighten and soften the shadows, the reflector was placed very close to the model, just outside the frame. Since the subject was only about three feet from the background, enough light spilled off from the soft box to light the background a little bit. You can control how light or dark the background is by moving the subject closer or farther away, just watch out for shadows.

Shadow control

The reflector is what controls the contrast of the shadows in this example. To make the shadows lighter, move the reflector closer to the subject. To make the shadows darker, move the reflect farther away form the subject. Just that easy!

Here's the setup:

Medium soft-box on the left, large soft gold reflector on the right. 

The specs:

20mm lens, f-6.3 at 1/125 second. The light was a Norman studio strobe set at 200 watt-seconds. The soft box is a medium sized Photoflex and the reflector is a 42" Photoflex soft gold reflector.

PS: I'm doing a 1 Light 1 Reflector 15 Looks workshop in St. Petersburg Florida April 21st , 2012. Click here for information and to sign up.
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