Shooting Five High-Key Portraits With One Light

It can be intimidating when you see some behind-the-scenes photos of studio setups, and there are multiple lights everywhere, and you only have one light. While sometimes, it does come in handy to have multiples, there is a lot you can do with only one light. Could you do a high-key portrait with only one light? 

There are several different ways you could produce a high-key look with only one light. In this video from photographer Jeff Carpenter of Readylight Media, he shares how he makes his one-light high-key look. By adding a few v-flats of different sizes, all from V-Flat World, he can change up the look of the high-key portrait in five different versions. As long as you are sticking strictly to headshots for your portraits, you can achieve these different looks with some foam core boards or even a few 5-in-1 reflectors. You may just need some assistants, stands, other items to hold them up for you. 

So, if you were tasked to create a high-key look with only one light, how would you do it? Would your setup be similar or something different? Out of the different setups shown, which did you prefer for the final result?

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Frederick Woods's picture

Well, all knowledge is good, so thank you for the video.

Edison Wrzosek's picture

That first scene where he totally surrounded the model with V-Flats, my god that's claustrophobic! I wouldn't want to subject my model to something like that! I'd simply do it the right way and use multiple light sources to get the desired look, without making the subject feel like I'm putting them in a box!

Ivan Lantsov's picture

is no hikey!

Kirk Darling's picture

That is a bright background.

That is not "high key."