An Effective One-Light Setup for Portraits

If you look at the work of professional portrait photographers, you will probably notice that they often employ multi-light setups to achieve their desired looks. And while those are useful, you can absolutely create professional-level photos with a single light, and this helpful video will show you what you can accomplish with one. 

Coming to you from Julia Trotti, this great video will show you an easy and effective one-light setup for portraiture. I think every photographer who is learning how to work with artificial lighting should start with a single source before tackling more complex setups. A lot of this process is about building an intuitive understanding of how light behaves and its properties, such as the inverse square law, softness versus hardness, the distance between the source and subject, and more. If you start with a multi-light setup before you have gained confidence in those things, you will have a difficult time picking apart how each constituent source is contributing to the overall look. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Trotti. 

If you would like to really dive into lighting for portraits, be sure to check out our range of premium tutorials in the Fstoppers store.

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Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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