Four Ways to Use a One Light Setup in Studio Photography

Whenever portrait photographers come across a well-taken fashion portrait, it is common for them to guess about the complex lighting setup that might’ve been used. But, as photographer Ian Hippolyte demonstrates in this video, you don’t always need a sophisticated lighting rig to get that perfect editorial look. In fact, a single source of light can do wonders in helping you achieve a fantastic shot. Let’s join him as he shares four different single-light setups that will change the way you take portrait shots:

As Hippolyte demonstrates in the video, even a single light source can be used to produce different effects. It depends on the modifier you’re using and the angle at which you’re placing the light in relation to the subject and the camera. For instance, for a soft look, you can see that he uses a large parabolic softbox that has a greater diffusing surface. But in order to achieve a harsher midday look, he uses a small light modifier and it perfectly emulates the sun.

Similarly, the different positions of the light source can impact the image. If you want a classic portrait look, simply place it at a 45-degree angle. For a more dramatic and contrasting look, you can position the light to the side of the subject. This way, the side of the subject away from the light source appears dark while packing a punch. You can control the illumination on this side using a simple reflector. And if you haven’t tried it, placing the light slightly below the subject can work well too. Just be sure not to place it too low.

Which one is your favorite from the bunch? Let us know in the comments.

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