Shooting Beauty Portraits With One Light

When you're first starting with artificial lighting, it can be easy to overcomplicate things by thinking you need lots of lights performing all sorts of specific functions to achieve great shots. This excellent video will show you how to create interesting portraits using a very basic setup.

Coming to you from Mark Wallace with Adorama TV, this great video walks you through the process of shooting one-light portraits using just a large reflector. A couple things to note: first, using just a reflector (even a larger one) will create a very hard light. This tends to make textures very defined and as a result, may not be a particularly flattering light if your subject doesn't have the best skin. Second, notice how even though the background is white, it appears quite dark in the photos. This is because Wallace keeps the subject relatively close to light as compared to her distance from the background. Moving the model closer to or farther from the background (and thus either moving the light with them or changing the needed power to maintain the same exposure) will change the brightness of the background. Check out the video above for the full rundown and give it a try yourself! 

Log in or register to post comments

2 Comments

Great video! We all need a reminder that simpler is better.
Nathan Pedigo
www.nathanpedigophotography.com

Motti Bembaron's picture

I always thought that simple is much better. However, I try to shy away from images that create dark shadow under the chin. It's OK when there are a lot of shadows and it's a very moody scene but as a portrait I like it less contrasts. Different tastes...

Nice video.