Friday Freebie #10 – Example Studio Lighting setups with Photos

As part of this weeks Friday Freebie, I thought I would share 4 different setups for Studio Lighting, with diagrams showing positions of lights, plus examples of resulting portraits.

Studio Lighting setup 1

Lighting setup for first set of shots is largest soft box camera left , coming in to model at approx 45 degrees. 2nd softbox is back right , pointing down on to model to provide that rim / hair light.   Back light was + 1-2 stops higher than front. Collapsible black velvet backdrop in place.

Lighting Setup

Lighting Setup

Lighting Setup - Resulting Portrait

Lighting Setup - Resulting Portrait

Lighting Setup - Resulting Portrait

Lighting Setup - Resulting Portrait

Notice how 1 light at the front & the model facing the camera, allows you produce some clear shadow definition on the face, whilst the rim light helps seperate the model from thebackground.

3 more Example Studio setups after the link

Studio Lighting setup 2

In this lighting example , the front light has been pulled back to allow lighting of some full body shots.  Note how by asking the model to face the main light & then only use the eyes to look back at you, how you can minimise shadow on the face this time.

Studio Lighting Diagram

Studio Lighting Diagram

Here is a photo showing the height of the rim light in this setup.

Rim Lighting

Rim Lighting

The resulting end portraits are :-

Studio Lighting Examples

Studio Lighting Examples

Studio Lighting Examples

Studio Lighting Examples

TIP :  Stand on a chair & ask the model to look up at you by only moving their eyees.  Their head should stay level.  The results can be seen in 1st shot above.  By forcing the eyes to look up, you reveal more white of the eyes, making the eyes look bigger, which as all ladies know makes for a more flattering look :)

Studio Lighting setup 3

We are now moving to a 3 light setup.  2 at the front at roughly 45 degrees to model, with larger soft box acting as main light, at 1 stop higher than 2nd light.   Now for some serious rim lighting, by placing a bare studio light directly behind the models head , about 1-2 feet back.

Example Studio Lighting Diagram

Example Studio Lighting Diagram

Example Studio Lighting Results

Example Studio Lighting Results

Example Studio Lighting Results

Example Studio Lighting Results


TIP: Try taking some portraits at an angle.   Different is good you know ;)

Studio Lighting setup 4

OK, last setup for you.  This one is know in the trade as the clam shell & is great for beauty shots.  Basically you place your largest softbox directly in front of the model, just above head height pointing down at model .  The 2nd softbox you place directly beneath the 1st , allowing just enough space for your camera lens to poke though.  This light will be pointed upwards slightly.

The top softbox will be 1 stop higher then the bottom one.

Studio Lighting Diagram

Studio Lighting Diagram

Clam Shell Lighting Example

Clam Shell Lighting Example

Clam Shell Lighting Example

Clam Shell Lighting Example

Let me know how you get on with any of these setups.  If you area Facebook user then consider “fanning” my page here, to keep up to date my latests posts   FACEBOOK

More Friday Freebies below :

Friday Freebie #10 – Example Studio Lighting setups with Photos
Friday Freebie #9 – How to create dramatic skies in Mono
Friday Freebie #8 – Shoot Upside Down for a change
Friday Freebie #7 – It’s all in the Eyes
Friday Freebie #6 – Child Portraits – How to get eye contact
Friday Freebie #5 – Diagonals & DOF
Friday Freebie #4 – Use shallow DOF for Portrait impact
Friday Freebie #3 – Sensual Couple Portraits
Friday Freebie #2 – Shallow DOF for Couples Portrait
Friday Freebie #1 – InfraRed Tutorial

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About Dave

Cheltenham based Photographer, Dave Williams
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65 Responses to Friday Freebie #10 – Example Studio Lighting setups with Photos

  1. Tom says:


    I have tried the clam shell technique and my lighting seems to be to harsh. I have the top box 400w set at 8 and the lower 400wt. set at 4. My camera settings are f8 at 125th. based on my light meter. Subject is 3 ft. from lower box and 4.5 ft. from the upper box. When I change y camera fstop to 11 is seems to take away the harshness but am I not then underexposing the picture?

    Any ideas. I am trying to find the softest soothing light for glamour portrait shots.

    Thanks for your help.


  2. Dave says:

    Hi Tom. Light becomes harsher the further you move the lights away from the model, as the light source size diminishes. I would try getting softboxes as close as possible to model. I’ve had models literally only a foot away from a 6ft softbox before. Not knowing your light models, with my 400W I usually have them on lowest settings, but close to model. Might be worth trying lower light at 2/3 power of light above to see if that makes a difference. Good luck & let me know how you get on

  3. Boryana says:

    Hello Dave. I sell mainly vinyl backdrops to photographers and I do wonder which set up in your opinion would offer the least amount of light reflection from the backdrop. I will appreciate your help.

  4. Pingback: studio and lighting « Photographer Box

  5. needos says:

    whatever you guys say about the lighting, is insignificant. I am enchanted by the beauty of this model-girl. She is just fairy-like wonderful….FANTASTTIC

  6. aman says:

    aman Sorout sai color lab gurgon

  7. Dinuka Herat says:

    thanks.. early I had some doubts how to keep light sources to get some portraits… I really enjoyed this..

    Thanks David.

  8. sameer says:

    Hi David… there is one thing which I would appreciate if you could help me with it… though it is NOT entirely related to this forum but has got to do with lighting! The question starts as follows:

    I would appreciate if David or any one of my friends on this forum could help me out in finalizing another flash gun for my CLS set up. I currently own a Nikon D7000 and a Nikon SB 700 *flash gun*. I’m looking forward to buy another flash gun to be used together with my current set up of D7000 and SB700. I enjoy doing portraits both, outdoors and indoors. However, I enjoy outdoors more due to interesting backgrounds and playing with the ambient light at golden hours.
    Now, coming to the question. Can you please help me decide which second flash gun should I buy? *as i said i already own a SB 700* Should I go for SB-910 OR another SB 700? Later on, probably after 6-8 months I’ll add on the third flash gun too but right now which one should i go for my second flash speed light?
    Please post me your answer and if possible backed up by some reasoning.
    Thank you and have a great day! :)

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  10. narendra balasaheb jadhav says:

    nice photo

  11. narendra balasaheb jadhav says:

    nice photo…

  12. Hamid says:

    the best for key light soft box or beautidish?
    thank you

  13. rogerio says:

    i like the light set, is very cool.

  14. diwakar borde says:

    eassy & effective,understand common person who don”t know photograpy lighting just amaging

  15. Pingback: uke 21 – Introduction to Lighting Equipment and Studio Setups | Marie Katrine Grønli

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