This is a portrait lighting setup by Swedish photographer Frida Lenholm using only a window as a single light source. Since there is no expensive equipment needed, this is a lighting setup that anyone can test.
Frida: – I am very weak for portraits that are illuminated with window lights. For this portrait lighting with Börje Salming there was only one window in a dark room which created a nice contrast between light and dark.
The closer to the window you put the model, the faster the light will fall off, and give a stronger contrast. For more details regarding this, you can study the inverse-square law.
By placing Börje at an optimal distance from the window, I found a balance of contrast and even exposure that captures Börjes personality.
This is a portrait photography lighting setup from the Swedish photographer Frida Lenholm.
The photo of Alice Bah Kuhnke was for the cover of a local magazine in Sweden.
Frida: – Since I love backlight very much and had a short time, it was a good solution to us natural light and take the picture of Alice in the window.
The window in the back had the strongest light and was facing the sun. The transparent curtains reduced and softened the spill light around Alice. The window and the curtains also created a frame around Alice that accentuated the composition.
There was also a window from the side with less intense light, that worked as a kicker light that and lit up Alice from the side/front and made the exposure more even.
The photo is slightly overexposed and shot with a Canon 24-70mm /F2.8 lens.
This fashion photography lighting setup is from a session on location in Hong Kong, featuring ShellZ Zhu. ShellZ Zhu is a fashion model and actress in China, but she has also been seen i a few Hollywood productions.
Portable lighting setup
I didn’t have the possibility to bring my full arsenal of lighting equipment, so I had to find a lighting setup that was easy to travel with. I brought a hot shoe speedlight flash, a shoot through umbrella, a lightweight light stand and the Elinchrom Skyport radio trigger. The shoot through umbrella was actually a multifunction umbrella with one shoot through layer and one removable silverlayer that you can bounce the light in when needed, but for this photo session I used it only as a shoot through umbrella. This is really a minimalistic fashion photography lighting setup.
It was a bit cloudy that day so the daylight was soft and had no specific direction. I placed the umbrella in front of ShellZ Zhu about 45 degrees to the left. For the photo with the “catwoman stance”, the lighting setup was moved so the lighting direction came a bit closer to the camera direction. Since the models pose i lower, the light gets relatively more from above.
This is a lighting setup by swedish photographer Carl Magnus Swahn with swedish model Denice Andrée. It is actually a classic butterfly lighting setup. I think it gives a very feminin character and I find suitable for classic beauty photos. This specific setup has the soft box with angle closer to the camera lens and less from above, so the characteristic butterfly shadow under the nose is not so prominent.
The equipment for this lighting setup
The photo was shot with a Lastolite Hilite 2,5 x 2,15 m giant soft box as a background. It was lit up by two Elinchrom strobes with a red/pink-ish gel filter to get that pink background. The gradient in the background was later enhanced in Photoshop. It’s difficult to see in the lighting diagram, but the Lastolite Hilite soft box is really huge. It’s like a huge lit up backdrop that easily can cover a full figure modell.
An Elinchrome Ranger (even though it was indoors) with a large soft box above the camera pointing at Denice. There was also a table with a silver metallic rescue blanket on it, used as a giant reflector. That gives a rectangular shape of the reflector and a much nicer catch light in the eyes.
If you zoom in on the photos and take a close look at the catch light in the eyes, you can clearly see the large soft box from above as well as the reflector from underneath.
Here’s a new lighting setup from photographer Meggy Irawan. The strobes are used without any light modifiers. That creates a crisp and dramatic light in the scene. The temple is lit by the sun and parts of the background is slightly underexposed which makes the model more prominent.
This is a perfect lighting setup for all you that don’t have so much equipment but still want to take professional photos. All you need is one strobe that you can fire remotely and a reflector. Indonesian photographer Meggy Irawan shows us how the it’s done.