Five Different Looks You Can Create Using Only One Light

When you're first starting with artificial lighting, I think it's generally best to get comfortable with one light first, then move up to increasingly complex designs. This great and quick video will show you five different looks you can get from one light source.

Coming to you from Aputure, this helpful video will show you the versatility of one light. Note that while they created this tutorial with videographers in mind, the principles apply equally well to photography. In it, they're using a Light Dome with a grid to control the spill of the light. The Light Dome is similar to an octabox, except it has 16 sides ("Light Dome" was probably a better choice of name than "hexadecabox"). If you're new to artificial lighting, an octabox is a great modifier to start with. As the video mentions, you can get more versatility out of these five looks by using a bounce card or diffusion to control the shadows (also by varying the subject-to-light distance). Experiment first with the positioning of the light so you can get a good general idea of how the different locations create different looks, then fine-tune to your taste using diffusion and bounce cards or a reflector. 

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6 Comments

Rembrandt lighting is my favorite. It’s dramatic and classic.

I love learning classic patters like this. Thank you!

Very practical suggestions

Andreas Böhrnsen's picture

This is good concise basic advice. However this is not complete (maybe not meant to be complete either). Would have been nice to include lighting patterns from behind as well like silhouettes or rim light.

My favorite is Paramount. I find it to be the most en-light-ening for the subject!

Rob VanderStelt's picture

Good information!