How To Set Up A Light Studio For Photography

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Studio portrait lighting: essential tips and setups explained

Studio lighting can seem daunting if you’ve never tried it earlier. Even so, it’south not nearly as scary as most people retrieve. By using a simple home studio kit, with only a couple of flash heads and a few bones accessories, yous can get groovy results in no time at all. In fact, here’s i of the best photography tips: it’s arguably easier to apply a studio lighting setup than a speed light.

We’re using a two-head Elinchrom D-Calorie-free Information technology 2 Studio two Go kit, which toll about £500 ($630), but there are plenty of other options to cull from that volition suit any budget. We’ll have you through some of the standard equipment you lot need, and show yous four great lighting setups for shooting studio portraits.

While these are a great starting signal, it’s best to experiment. So if y’all’re working in your own abode studio, don’t be agape to tweak these setups.

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Studio setup

Light stands

Studio flash is all about positioning the low-cal source away from the camera, so stands are crucial. They back up the flash heads, which ways they tin can be positioned at the right altitude and angle to the subject area.

Flash heads

Virtually kits take two flash heads. Along with a flash tube, there’s a modelling light. Virtually take a switchable ‘slave’, enabling one flash to be triggered by another, then y’all only need to take your camera continued to one of the heads.


A brolly is the most standard grade of lighting accessory. The flash is directed into the brolly and then the lite is reflected back onto the subject. They are available in dissimilar reflective surfaces – typically white, argent or gold.


Softboxes are slightly more than sophisticated than brollies and, once yous’ve worked out how to assemble these tent-similar devices, they create a softer and mostly more flattering low-cal, with a more than fifty-fifty illumination.


Both of these tools help to concentrate or ‘focus’ the light. They’re ideally suited for use every bit backlights or for isolating a particular function of an paradigm.


A simple reflector can be really useful in a studio lighting setup, especially if y’all’re only using one light. You use it the same way yous would with natural lite – to bounce low-cal back onto your subject field and fill up in any hard shadow areas.

Setup 1: Rembrandt

Position one flash head with a silverish brolly at a 45° angle to the model at about six feet high. This creates a stiff, difficult, direct low-cal from the side and higher up. This is chosen a key low-cal. To fifty-fifty the lighting, position a reflector on the other side of the model to bounciness the light back into the shadow side. There should be a small triangle of light on the subject area’s confront – this is referred to every bit Rembrandt lighting.

Kit needed:
• I flash head
• One reflector
• Two light stands

The best studio lighting kits

Setup two: Clamshell

This setup is great for beauty images as the lighting is flat and fifty-fifty. It’s pretty easy to achieve this effect too – all you need to do is place two softboxes on either side of your subject field at the aforementioned angle and at an equal distance. Fix the ability so it’s the aforementioned from each low-cal. Try using a reflector under the face – your model should easily be able to hold this. This will bounce light upwardly and onto the face.

Kit needed
• Two wink heads
• Two 66cm softboxes
• 1 reflector
• 2 calorie-free stands

• The best reflectors for photography

Setup three: Backlight

To add together drama, employ a honeycomb or snoot accessory on ane of the lights. This will narrow the axle of light. We’re going to position this behind the model, pointing back towards the camera then that it lights the dorsum of her caput. This is a great mode to add drama and depth to a photo, and it also creates a sense of separation from the groundwork. Of course, you need to make sure the backlight isn’t visible in the shot.

Kit needed:
• 2 flash heads
• One 66cm softbox
• One reflector
• 1 honeycomb

The best backdrops for photography

Setup 4: Rim lighting

Place both lights slightly behind the subject, pointing back towards the camera. This setup requires some tweaking and can work really well with nudes as information technology helps define body shape. You’ll need to watch out for lens flare, though, as the lights are pointing dorsum towards the camera. A set of ‘barn doors’, a lens hood or a shield can help prevent this. An assistant who can hold a advisedly positioned reflector is useful – this will assist fill in those areas of deep shadow.

Kit needed:
• Two wink heads
• 1 reflector

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Benedict Brain is a Britain based photographer, journalist and artist. He graduated with a degree in photography from the Derby School of Art in 1991 (at present University of Derby), where he was tutored and inspired past photographers John Blakemore and Olivier Richon, amid others. He is an Associate of the Royal Photographic Gild and also sits on the order’s Distinctions Advisory Panel.

Until July 2022 Bridegroom was editor of Britain’southward best-selling consumer photography magazine,Digital Camera Magazine. Every bit a journalist he met and interviewed some of the earth’s greatest photographers and produced articles on a broad range of photography related topics, presented technique videos, wrote in-depth features, curated and edited best-in-course content for a range of titles including;Amateur Lensman, PhotoPlus, Northward-Photo, Professional PhotographyandPractical Photoshop. He currently writes a regular column,The Fine art of Seeing, forDigital Photographic camera magazine.

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