Mastering Single Light Photography

Knowing how to get a lot of different looks from one light is an integral skill to have as a photographer and this video from The Creative Contrast shows us all four simple setups to quickly get a bunch of different photos to build out a model's portfolio

When it comes to photography, we can often get overwhelmed with lighting modifiers, multiple lights, crazy setups, and super precise placement of light. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but we should learn to walk before we can run. Being able to master the use of one light allows us to better understand why, and where, we should put second/third/fourth lights. There is also the factor of speed when shooting where a single light comes in handy. 

Sometimes, especially when shooting for an agency, you only have a little bit of time to get a whole bunch of different looks for the model's book, and knowing how to utilize a single light is integral to success. In the video, we get to see four easy setups that can be rotated through quickly when you only have an hour or so to shoot. Two with hard light and two with soft light. 

Do you have any examples of different single light lighting setups? I'd love to see them below!

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6 Comments

Daniel Medley's picture

Solid video, guys. Thanks for sharing it. A lot can be done with just a single light. The more comfortable one is with a single light, the easier it is to incorporate a second light; the next obvious step. Like throwing a spot on the BG to get a bit of separation if one chooses to do so.

Rob Mitchell's picture

I love working with just a single light. That and a bounce screen, you can do so much.
There's always an SB900 in my bag with a Godox Elinchrom modifier for an emergency 2nd light. Rarely needed for most headshot requirements.
Fast setup, super portable.

Got to say, massive kudos for being confident enough to have a Brazilian on the chin too!.

Chad D's picture

%98 or more of my pet stuff is one light :)

Is it just me or does anyone else think this is not exactly educational? With the title and overall subject, this is clearly aimed at the beginner. So why not explain a little more in-depth how to angle the lights and linger a bit longer with the differences in looks and show the effects of the various backdrops?? I feel totally rushed through and will only take away that I need to find a better video ..

Dave Henshaw's picture

Great little post and video David, I love using these techniques too! Thanks for sharing.

Jeremy Center's picture

Too much talking. Not enough mastering.