One Light, Three Ways: How To Get The Most Out Of Your One Light Set-Up

If you've got one light sitting around, I challenge you to find three creative ways to use it. If you need help coming with ideas, that's where this helpful video comes in to play. 

With photography, when you break it down, it comes down to light and shadow. Light is light, you just need to know how to use it. So, before you go out and buy another set of lights, look around your house and see what you have laying around. It could be a desk lamp, a work light from Home Depot, or even a cost free solution: your window. 

One light is surprisingly versatile if you know how it functions. This weeks video comes from Becki and Chris, a dynamic YouTube duo. In this quick video, Becki and Chris takes us through three lighting scenarios that all ony use one light. The setups were a clamshell setup, a ring light formation, and a darker style scene, just showing how versatile one light is. If they can do it, you can too.

Out of the techniques they cover, one of the my go-to setups is the clamshell setup. This is my favorite technique because of how versatile it is, and how quick it is to modify. It works for men, women, people with glasses, or any age. For this setup, all you need is your key light (which should be modified to fit the mood of the shot) and a reflector, or any reflective surface. For example, If I'm going for a more dramatic aesthetic, I will modify my key light with a bare reflector and place my light five to ten feet above my subject, which gives quick fall off and harsh shadows. But in a cleaner corporate style headshot like the ones below, the key light is modified with a 27 inch beauty dish with a layer of diffusion, and is placed a foot above my subject, which gives me soft fall off around the face. Then, I put a piece of foam core underneath their chin to fill in the shadows. 

What's your favorite way to use one light? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

Eli Dreyfuss's picture

Eli Dreyfuss is a professional portrait photographer based in sunny Miami, Florida. He focuses on making ordinary people look like movie stars in his small home studio. Shortly after graduating high school he quickly established himself in the art world and became an internationally awarded & published artist.

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