5 Portrait Lighting Styles You Can Create With One Light

When you think of high-end portraiture, you might imagine multiple lights and complicated setups. The truth is, you can create a lot with just a single light. In this video, learn five techniques that can be replicated with a single light.

As most people do, I took my first steps into lighting by using a single flashgun. I vaguely remember being pleased with the outcome, but as is always the case, my satisfaction was short-lived and I soon wanted to create better and more interesting results. I then mistakenly attributed the best route to those results to more lights. In actuality, I needed more education.

To this day, in a lot of my commercial shoots for businesses and editorial shoots for magazines, I opt for a single light setup. While I might pepper in modifiers, reflectors, and absorbent materials to shape and control the light, one powerful strobe can be incredibly flexible. This video is a good demonstration of how many disparate styles you can create with just one light. If you then add in different light modifiers, like barn doors or honeycombs, you have even more looks at your disposal.

What is your favorite setup for single-light portraiture? 

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1 Comment
Penny Fan's picture

Thank for sharing. I like Paramount and Loop light in your examples.
Also you can also do backlight with 1 light setup.