Very Soft Single-Light Portrait With White Background

Karl and Urs continue their demonstration of single light setups with this next photography class, where they demonstrate what is perhaps one of the most simple lighting setups in this course — a versatile bare bulb setup that can be used in almost any studio, regardless of the size.

Using just the single light, the result is an incredibly soft light with absolutely no shadows. Testing different backgrounds, Karl and Urs finally settle on a plain white background, which adds the finishing touch to their high key portrait.

The finish off, they then demonstrate how to use negative fill to add shape and shadows to an image.

In this photography class we cover the following:

  • Portrait photography using a single light
  • Using indirect light for portraiture
  • Photographing in a small studio
  • High key photography
  • Achieving a white background
  • How to use negative fill

Note: This course is available with English subtitles.

Comments

  1. Good refresher course for working in a small area. Love the control in manual mode in my Canon and Nikon camera when I work with a model in a rental studio. Really loving your commercial product photography section also. I will probably renew next year also since there are many courses.

  2. Hi Karl,
    Which UK supplier do you use for your foam board ?
    I’m looking for some of the large sheets, and the prices I’m seeing are very expensive !
    Thanks !

    1. Hi Matthew, I get them from my local sign service company. He gets about 6 full size sheets in a huge flat box but I’m not sure what we pay for them. I keep some full sheets for things like cars and cut other sheets up into smaller peices.

  3. “Try to look like an alien”…. gotta remember that one for my next shoot! I agree, what you do with lighting is pure magic.

  4. The set up is awesome, but what if I didn’t want the reptilian pupil ‘slit’ that the photographer’s reflection generates? How would I go about having more natural eyes? A 70-200mm lens might solve the problem but that’s not always easily accessible.

    1. Hi Anthony,You can’t break the physics of what you are seeing. Solve the physics, you just said yourself you are seeing the reflection of the photographer, so start thinking ‘how do I not have the reflection of the photographer?’ – The first thing i can think of is a light scrim roll of paper in front of the camera with a hole cut in it for the lens to poke through. If that blocks to much of the bounce light (which I doubt it would) then you’d have to revert to photoshop to break the physics.

  5. Hi Karl,

    This is an amazing lighting setup, I know that if I try this on my own i would find out myself. What I would like to know is if this setup would be useful for lighting up the full length image of the subject ?

  6. Hey Karl,

    Love our video thank you –

    How can you get this effect with a profoto since the light bulb is inside the lamp and it has a soft box effect on it.
    Also what happens if you get a light on each side reflecting on a white board ? Would there be just more diffused light ?

    thanks
    Gigi

    1. Hi, you can either fit a diffusion dome on the end of your light or you could use three lights, one at each wall.

  7. What you do with light, guys, is an absolute magic. I’m speechless.

  8. Such a simple method to achieve this soft light and something I wondered how to do. Sometimes in the tutorials I cant see the subtle differences where you can but in this example you can see how the shadows are almost non existent compared to the 100×100 soft box close to Eva. (She really has that big baby eyes look.)
    Hopefully I`m taking in the tutorials as I`m not even going to ask about the shutter speed 😉
    Just one thing though; I was told some models hate the 50mm for portraits. Can you think why?

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