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Lighting Applications & Variations

This lighting can be readily adapted for anything from tight headshots to full body shots. I generally reserve this kind of lighting for full-body and 3/4-body shots, preferring a smaller and more controllable main-light source for headshots. If you are working with clients who are heavy or otherwise require corrective lighting, this lighting would not be a first choice.
By changing the distance between the subject and the diffusion panel and the distance between the strobe and the panel, the look of the lighting can be varied significantly. To create the softest lighting possible, move your strobe back from the panel until it illuminates the entire panel evenly. To create a punchy light, move the strobe close to the panel. You can vary the lighting contrast by changing the distance between the panel and the subject. Moving the panel in closer will accentuate the rate of light fall-off, leading to an increase in contrast between highlights and shadows. Pulling the panel back will reduce the fall-off across your subject and reduce contrast between highlights and shadows. You may prefer to substitute a white reflector panel, flat, or bookend for the silvered reflector used here. You may also substitute a white bed sheet hung from a crossbar for the diffusion panels

Lighting Diagram 1.2b (side view)











Lighting Diagram 1.2a (top view)

Example Portrait 1.2

Here's another way to get a lot of bang out of a single strobe unit.  A strobe unit with a wide-coverage reflector or modifier, a large diffusion panel, and a moderately-large reflector panel are the key ingredients.


The Lighting Setup

The lighting apparatus used for this portrait is shown in diagram 1.2a (top view) and 1.2b (side view) below.  A  monolight was fitted with a 24" beauty-dish reflector and  fired into a set of joined diffusion panels that measured a total of 84"X78".   This provided a large, soft main-light source that yielded a light similar to that from a large softbox. A 42"X78" silvered reflector panel was placed opposite the main-light source to fill in the shadows.   The subject was placed on a medium gray (Savage: Slate Gray) seamless paper sweep.   The shadows on the subject's left side, especially near the beltline, have been overfilled.  This image would have been better with somewhat less fill illumination.