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Lighting Applications & Variations

This lighting works best for headshots and can be used for all age groups, but works particularly well with middle-aged and older adults.  Used in conjunction with mild, over-the-lens diffusion, this setup fills the eye sockets and facial lines with soft, glowing light, while maintaining a noticeable lighting contrast.  The result is flattering, yet not flat. 

You may replace the diffused umbrella with a medium or medium-small softbox and achieve a very similar result. 






A Tiffen Soft FX #2 diffuser was placed in front of the camera lens to provide a modest amount of softening.   Images on this page where scanned from black and white silver-gelatin prints.






Here is another portrait example using the same lighting.


Lighting Diagram 3.1b (side view)

Lighting Diagram 3.1a (top view)

Example Portrait  3.1

Here is a lighting setup that I like to use for entertainer headshots, and which works particularly well for people beyond their teen years.  The facial lighting consists of a small diffused umbrella placed in low and close (main light),  along with two white fill cards.  A diffused strobe lights the background and another diffused strobe with barn doors provides hair lighting.


The Lighting Setup

The  lighting apparatus used for this portrait is shown in diagram 3.1a (top view) and 3.1b (side view) below.  A monolight fitted with a 36 inch diffused satin umbrella (Photek Softlighter) was placed in close and at a fairly low angle.  This provided a light that was soft, yet with noticeable contrast.  A white reflector (foam board), which  extended from just below the main light to just short of the subject's chin, kicked soft fill light up into the face.  A second white reflector (foam board)  was placed opposite the main light and at approximately 3 feet from the subject to provide a very subtle fill.  A separate flash head, placed below and behind the subject was fired at the dark brown/purple muslin background (Westcott Heather Master). The background light,  measured at the background, was one stop brighter than the facial lighting.  A separate flash head fitted with barn doors was placed above and behind the subject for hair lighting.  The hair light was set to the same brightness as the facial lighting.