3 Different Shoots With Only a Bare Bulb

In this video, Lindsay Adler shows how going back to the basics, with nothing more than her camera, a white backdrop, and a bare bulb flash can make for some great images. 

When I first started out with photography, I remember thinking the farther away you put the light, the softer the edges will be. But then, you learn hard shadows will occur when you have the light farther away from your talent. Just look at what the sun does on a summer day, and it'll correct that error in thought. 

I was one of the photographers that got nervous in a studio, asking myself if I had what it took to light someone well with two or three lights. I'm grateful that it's not the case anymore, but it's also great to see what's possible with just one bare bulb. 

What I'll Take From This Video

  • A silhouette with one light can actually work if you have some walls, floor, or ceiling reflecting light back into your frame. 
  • Try to add something between the light and your talent, and use the shadows it gives with purpose. It can be for leading lines, contrast, mystery, or anything that will work for your shot. 
  • Every time Lindsay finishes talking to the camera, she lets us know that she's now going to get the shot. So, there's intent, and she will continue shooting until she has the shot she has in mind. I've been on shoots where I just shot until I thought I had something of value. But having an idea or intention before the shoot and making sure you get the shot is what I believe will give you great images. So, planning and being persistent with what you want to achieve is a crucial part of a photo shoot. 


I always like to see how Adler directs her models. She has a way of getting energy out of the setting, and this transfers it into her photographs. She's also great at explaining how things work and what to pay attention to.

Wouter du Toit's picture

Wouter is a portrait and street photographer based in Paris, France. He's originally from Cape Town, South Africa. He does image retouching for clients in the beauty and fashion industry and enjoys how technology makes new ways of photography possible.

Log in or register to post comments

I am doing a single strobe street shot with a model tomorrow, always appreciate the inspiration which this video does!

Sometimes we get so obsessed with technology that we forget one can get superb results with simple things!

I couldn't agree more.