How to Use Overhead Portrait Lighting

Jeff Rojas is a fashion and portrait photographer who believes in a minimalistic approach. Often, that entails using just one light. For those of you who love shooting with a single light, this is an inspiring video to continue shooting with what you already have:

Rojas’s go to light is the Phottix Indra 360, which is a small light source with a 59″ parabolic softbox. He says,

“I don’t need a lot of power on set, specifically because I’m using studio lighting in a controlled environment.”

The softbox has an inner one-stop and an outer one-stop diffusion panel and produces a very soft transition between highlights and shadows.

one light photography demonstration

During this shoot, Rojas sets up his light at a distance of about one and a half to two feet from the subject’s head.

He intentionally positions his subject right along the edge where the highlight to shadow transition happens in order to fill in any unwanted shadows on his subject’s face.

positioning of the light

He angles his main light down toward his subject. The positon of the light allows him to capture those subtle tones both in color and in black and white.

one light portrait example

His subjects are always positioned at a distance of about five to six feet from the background.

All in all, this is a very simple and easy to set up studio lighting arrangement. It requires just one light and a solid black background.

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