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Lighting Applications & Variations

This lighting setup gets a lot of bang from a single source, but it  is somewhat restrictive.  As the reflectors must be positioned relative to the main light, any significant changes to the angle and position of the main source generally require a repositioning of the reflectors.  Also, as the softbox is quite close to the subject, slight changes in subject position can result in noticeable exposure variations.  Nevertheless, this is a reasonable setup for 3/4 body shots for fashion or catalog applications.  By varying the fill light, especially that from the white reflector, the shadows can range from open and light to deep and foreboding. 

Any one of a number of large sources can be substituted for the large softbox, especially if you are not constrained by 8' ceilings, as was the case here.  A 60" satin umbrella would be a good and  inexpensive option.   If your studio has white walls, you may be able to substitute a neighboring wall for the white reflector.

Lighting Diagram 1.4 (top view)

Example Portrait 1.5a

Here we have another example of a single large light source combined with a few reflectors.  Though not quite as adaptable as a multi-source configuration, this setup allows you to light your subject and the background with just one light, while providing a pleasant sense of depth. 


The Lighting Setup

The lighting apparatus used for this portrait is shown in diagram 1.5.  A  monolight  fitted with a 3' X 4' softbox  was positioned to the subject's left, long dimension parallel to floor, and feathered somewhat toward the camera.  It was raised until it touched the 8' ceiling of the room and was tilted downward somewhat.  An 84"X78" silver reflector was placed to the right of the camera and an 84"X78" white reflector to the left as shown in the diagram.  The silver reflector provided a significant source of fill lighting, acting much like a separate form-fill light.  The white reflector finished the job, adding a bit more light to the deeper shadows. 

Changing the angle (feather) of the softbox can make a big difference.  Here, angling the box away from the background caused the gentle vignetting seen at the right edge of the image.  This darkening, along with the  complementary darkening  caused by the subject's shadow (left edge), imparts a sense of depth.  Feathering the box toward the camera also provided greater light for the silver reflector. 




Example Portrait 1.5b