Studio Lighting Part 4 - an advanced set-up

Studio Lighting Part 4 - an advanced set-up - Chris Burfoot continues his excellent guide to getting the best results from studio lighting.

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Studio Lighting and Flash

Studio Lighting Part 4
In the last article we looked at taking portraits with one light and a reflector and using another head with control accessories fitted to give hair and background lights. Hopefully by now you should have tried these set-ups and feel more confident to move on to a two head kit, using a second studio flash head as a front fill instead of a reflector panel. You do, however, need to be careful when setting this up and you will need a flash meter to balance the light.
Words & Pictures Chris Burfoot A.M.P.A

In the diagram below you can see that we have placed a flash head quite close to the camera position and we have fitted a shoot-through umbrella. The power of this head has been reduced so it gives a meter reading at the subjects face of one f-stop less than the main light on the right. This ensures that we do not have flat lighting on her face and will give a very pleasing result. In this example the reading from the main light was f/11 (this was set on the camera) and the fill light was f/8.

Studio Lighting

Studio Lighting

Umbrellas are quick, easy and inexpensive ways of making a light source bigger and softer. For the ultimate softness you cant go far wrong with a Softbox, the bigger the better! We are using Elinchrom lighting and a range Prolinca and Elinchrom Softboxes are available from 40cm square to the amazing Octa which is almost two metres across! The most useful sizes for portrait work are 70 or 100cm square although the Prolinca 60cm is great value for money and works well. Remember the rule, the bigger the light source the softer it is.

To get the softest light possible from your softbox move in close! Softboxes should be used just out of view of the camera and then will give you a lovely soft diffused light. If a large softbox is used close it will give plenty of wrap-around reducing the need for a reflector or fill light. In this example I used a Rotalux 100cm square and a white reflector.

Studio Lighting

Studio Lighting

The Elinchrom Rotalux Softboxes are quite unique in that you can use them in several different ways. As the Elinchrom/Prolinca Flash heads have a central brolly tube you can combine the softbox with a silver, gold or translucent deflector. Using these deflectors in conjunction with the front, internal or both diffuser panels you can obtain a huge number of different lighting effects with one simple accessory set. For more information on the Rotalux system with example photos, have a look at and follow the link.

One of the most flattering and glamorous lighting set-ups is easily obtained with one softbox and a great accessory from Lastolite called a Tri-flector. Basically it is three reflector panels joined together on movable joints.

Heres a super set-up, which works every time! With your model seated place a flash head fitted with a softbox above the camera angled down to light from above. Place the Tri-flector on a stand with the centre panel just above the models lap, the two side panels can be angled up at around 45 degrees on each side. This throws reflected light up under her chin and eyebrows and gives a beautiful effect that will emphasise your models eyes. In the example on the right I have also added a backlight and a black background to give real impact.

Studio Lighting

Chris Burfoot A.M.P.A. holds lighting workshops regularly for the Royal Photographic Society, for more information contact Liz Williams at the RPS on 01225 546841.

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As someboby who know,s next to nothing
about studio lighting this was just the job for the first rung of the ladder.
Kirby [rice.

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Thanks so much. Very helpful tutorials.
thank you.. its helped me alot
its just great....
but it is dissopointed to not having a diagram of last shot with tri-flector set up
even though thank you very much.

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