How to Take Great Portraits With a One Light Setup

It’s nice having a studio full of lights and other gear, but the truth is, all that stuff isn’t necessary to create awesome portraits with good lighting. In this two part video series, we go behind the scenes of a one light portrait session and the post processing work flow to see how it all came together:

Shooting on a dark grey background, photographer Manni used a large, silver lined umbrella as the sole light source. After taking some test shots and moving the umbrella and model around, the right lighting was achieved. In this case, that meant putting the model relatively close to the background and moving the umbrella almost directly in front of the model.

portrait lighting tips

On the right, the positions of the model, light, and camera that were used to take the portrait on the left.

As you can see in the image above, the umbrella was stretched out high enough so that it cast a light down onto the model and the background.

Photoshop Workflow

As an added bonus, the editing process is condensed down into one 30-minute video that covers everything from blemish removal to color grading. Have a look:

The video is aimed to help you achieve that perfect skin tone and texture in Photoshop. While it seems like a lot of steps at first, with practice the entire process becomes second nature, and you’ll be able to accomplish it a little faster.

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