6 simple lighting setups for shooting portraits at home (plus free cheat sheet)

6 simple lighting setups for shooting portraits at home

If you’re looking to take your photography further you’ll probably want to learn how to use off-camera flash. In this tutorial we show you 6 simple studio light setups that will help you capture some of the classic portrait lighting effects.

What’s more, these lighting techniques will provide you with a solid foundation from which you can start experimenting to find your own style.

In our lighting setups cheat sheet below you’ll learn how to use high contrast light at a 90-degree angle; diffused light and a reflector; high contrast light at 45 degrees; high contrast light at 45 degrees with a reflector; low contrast light at 45 degrees with a reflector; and finally rim lighting from behind.

Lighting Setup 1: High contrast light at a 90-degree angle

Lighting Setup 1: High contrast light at a 90-degree angle

A striking result achieved with minimal kit. Using a single flash head at this angle can give an unflattering result, though.

The light will show up bumpy skin textures and create stark shadows and bright highlights.

Without a diffuser, the quality of light will be high contrast and if placed near the subject will create problems with fall-off where light is spread unevenly across the face.

By not using a reflector, shadows will be deep.

PAGE 1: Lighting Setup 1- High contrast light at a 90-degree angle
PAGE 2: Lighting Setup 2 – Diffused light and a reflector
PAGE 3: Lighting Setup 3 – High contrast light at 45 degree
PAGE 4: Lighting Setup 4 – High contrast light at 45 degrees with a reflector
PAGE 5: Lighting Setup 5 – Low contrast light at 45 degrees with a reflector
PAGE 6: Lighting Setup 6 – Rim lighting from behind
PAGE 7: Download all 6 lighting setups in our free cheat sheet

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