Portrait Lighting Setups Using One Light and Mirrors

If you think that professional-grade portrait lighting can only be achieved with multiple light sources, think again. Photographer Jay P. Morgan demonstrates the many looks that one can get from using only one light source coupled with multiple reflectors. In this instance, the lone light source is a Dynalite strobe head. He makes it look like there are other light sources by making use not only of tried and tested silver reflectors but also some ordinary household mirrors:

Jay reminds us that a silver reflector needs very little light to be useful and can be modified just like any light. It can be covered with cloth to make the reflection look smaller or diffused in front to make the reflection softer. He also demonstrates how a mirror needs less light than a silver reflector while creating a very sharp pattern of hard light, as seen in the image below.

He then presents us with several setups which are just some of the possibilities:

  • Setup 1: strobe as key light, reflector as fill light, mirror as background light
  • Setup 2: strobe as rim light, mirror as key light, 2nd mirror as rim, reflector as background light
  • Setup 3: strobe as overhead double rim light, mirror as key light

Advance One Light Setups Using Mirrors

It’s a very good demonstration of how professional lighting setups can be assembled without breaking the bank and the multitude of looks achieved with just a little knowledge of light, a little ingenuity, and several shiny, reflective surfaces.

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