Copyright 2008 PortraitLighting.net.  All rights reserved.  All images and diagrams on this site are the copyrighted property of the author and may not be reused or distributed without his expressed consent.

Lighting Applications & Variations

This is a very  useful lighting setup.  It works very well for most children and many subjects, but is not particularly good for slimming your heavier subjects.  It may not be a good choice for prominent ears or balding subjects, and because the lighting has an open, wrap-around nature, it is not particularly good when you need to hide features in shadow.  This lighting smoothes skin texture, so rough complexions and wrinkled skin can reproduce well.

 When using an active fill source, as in this example,  the  main light can be moved around the subject to provide a great variety of lighting patterns with a minimum of fuss.  Just keep the distance from your subject to softbox the same, and good exposure should result.  You can substitute a large white reflector placed opposite the softbox for the fill light.  Doing so will require a bit more background illumination, and may limit the softbox placement somewhat, but results can be just as good.  You can eliminate the background lighting and still have a fine image.  The background will appear a light gray, but still quite smooth and pleasant.   


Lighting Diagram 4.5

Example Portrait 4.5

Large softboxes are prized for the soft, creamy light they can produce.   In this example, a large softbox bathes our young subject in such light. 



 The Lighting Setup

The  lighting apparatus used for this portrait is shown in the in the lighting diagram below.  A 3' X 4' softbox was positioned vertically approximately 40  degrees to the right of the camera-to-subject axis.  That softbox was set so that 1/4 of the diffuser fell below the subject's chin.  A general fill source was created by bouncing flash off the white wall behind the camera.  Two flash heads fitted with barn doors and diffusion gels were pointed back at the background from the left and right of the subject.  The fill light was set to 2 f-stops less output than the main light (as measured at the subject).  With all lighting on, the background lights were adjusted  to produce an incident reading  at the white background equal to the main light reading at the subject.