One Light Fashion Photography

Another day of testing! This time with Naomi Lake, who kindly agreed to model and apply makeup to a number of other models throughout the day.

I’m still very new to studio lighting, but I’m starting to find a go to setup that I really enjoy, that also happens to be really simple.

This simple one light setup is one of the most flattering setups that I’ve come across. I like a little contrast in my images to accentuate facial features, but equally I don't want the shadows to be too dark. Reflectors are your best friend in this situation.

One light fashion lighting diagram

All I used to light this set of images was a single strobe with a large white beauty dish (both made by Bowens), and a silver pop up reflector. Both the beauty dish and the reflector were as tight to Naomi as possible, without them creeping into the frame. Keep moving your reflector in and out until you hit the sweet spot on the shadow side. 

Recently I've been pulling my subjects at least 6-8 feet away from the backdrop, which was a plain white one in this case. It’s far enough away not to cast shadows, but close enough to reflect some light, falling to a mid-grey. The circular output from the beauty dish also creates a lovely circular vignette. Both the colour and the vignette help the model pop out from the background, but as subtly as possible.

I've found that grey is also very easy to manipulate in post. In this case I wanted to introduce a little blue into the backdrop to compliment the light blue shirt. So I simply tweaked the white balance until I was happy with the image, ensuring the skin didn’t turn into a funky colour.

Naomi Styled this shoot. We were going for a sensual and relaxed look with the oversized men's shirt, and it worked really well. She looks like the girlfriend who won't give your clothes back!

I really like how this set of images turned out. And it goes to prove that you don't need loads of gear to create good looking images. You could create a similar image with just a speedlight, a softbox and a reflector. The important thing is always floor space, and how you shape the light using reflectors and flags. Ask your local drama studio if they will let you shoot when a studio is either too expensive or just not attainable.