Studio lighting can be a scary thing if you haven’t used it before. It’s not as scary as you might think! Home studios can be set up with minimal gear but still create a big impact.
Here are 5 lighting setups all done with just one light, one modifier, one reflector, and one v-flat. You don’t need to have a huge space to shoot these setups I’m going to discuss. You don’t have to go spend a ton on this gear starting out either! When I started my studio, I shot with lighting that was under $100 and still had amazing fashion-inspired portraits.
Lighting Setup One: Light Straight On
When shooting this, I had the light angled straight on my subject to fill the whole face with light. This will add light to most of your shadows and create less contrast. This set up is great for a beauty portrait or model test portrait.
Lighting Setup Two: White V-Flat
For this setup, I moved the lighting to a 45-degree angle to the left of my subject and added in a white v-flat to fill in the shadows to the right of the subject. This will give you some shadow but the light bouncing off of the v-flat fills in the shadows softly.
Lighting Setup Three: Black V-Flat
This set up is using the other side of the V-Flat which is painted black. Leaving the light in the same position, I’m able to get deep shadows on the face and right side of my subject. This adds in some depth and contrast to the same setup as the previous with the white v-flat.
Lighting Setup Four: Adding in a reflector
For this setup, I kept the lighting in the same position again. This time, I added a silver reflector. To achieve this, I will either hold it as I’m shooting to bounce in light fill on dark areas of the face or attach the reflector to a stand ( also, you can ask your subject to hold it if you don’t need their hands in the shot). Personally, I like to have catchlights in the eye. In this setup, there should be a reflection in the bottom of the eye and also the top.
Lighting Setup Five: Above the Subject
This is the trickiest of all the lighting setups I’ve discussed so far. This will take practice and patience. If the light is too high, you will have very deep, dark shadows that aren’t always the most flattering. Sometimes having a slight angle to the light when its above can fix these issues. Again, I recommend having the catchlight show in the eye. This will give life and a bit of a pop to the subject's face since this setup is more dramatic and moody.
There you have it! Five super simple setups for your studio to get you started. Happy Shooting!
Lighting used throughout was one Profoto B10, Profoto Deep Umbrella Large, and Profoto Large Diffusor Sock www.profoto.com
V-Flat from V-Flat World www.vflatworld.com
Reflector from Amazon www.amazon.com
Written by: Shannon K Dougherty
Shannon K Dougherty @shannon_k_dougherty
Model: Lynda Clinton @lxndajennxx