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Grey background


I recently bought a Profoto Giant 180 reflector used from another Swedish photographer and since then it finds its way into most of my studio portraits, sometimes as my main and only light, but also as a great fill light for full length or less.

This time I was contacted by Nina, working as a corporate lawyer needing new portraits for an article a magazine were about to publish about her and her company.

We did most of the portraits in my small photo studio, starting with white background but later on I switched to a different lighting setup where the Giant went from main to fill.

A Giant, a grid and a softbox…


This is Anders Jacobsson, well known Swedish author of children’s books, movies and tv-series. He is a nice and happy guy, and is almost always portrayed that way. When I got the assignment from his publisher to shoot a few author portraits, they told me that his next book would be titled “The horror in the attic” (direct translation of the original title). If you write horror stories, even if they are for kids, you can’t really look too happy, so I aimed for something more dark and serious.

This is how I set up the lights…

One light studio portrait headshot, Profoto Magnum + diffusion panel

This is a portrait I did for a Swedish publishing house of a famous singer in my studio, using only one Profoto D1 250 Air and a Profoto Magnum reflector. And a silver reflector below her face to throw some light back up into the shadows and to add a little more sparkle in her eyes.

Behind the scenes and another Magnum portrait here…

One Light Portrait

November 3, 2011 · 9 comments

One light portrait

This is in my opinion the easiest way of doing a studio portrait with only one light, add a reflector below if you feel that a little reflected fill light might improve it. Silver if you want more fill and contrast, white if you just want diffused light.

You can use it in the studio or on location, the only thing you need is a studio light (or speedlight), a softbox and a boom stand. Adjust the light on the model and/or background by moving the light/model if you want different looking photos. In this case, I shot against a white paper background which turned out light grey.

Behind the scenes from this one light session…

beauty portrait headshot with studio lighting setup diagram

This is just a closer headshot from the beauty portrait post I wrote about earlier. The setup is the same, I just moved a little closer to the model (or former model to be correct, she now works at an ad agency.

You can find the lighting diagram together with everything else here:
2-light beauty portrait setup

Shot on medium grey background paper, using two Profoto lights, one with a white Softlight reflector on a boom stand (the top catchlight), and the other in a 5 foot Softbox Octa behind me (the smaller catchlight below). And a reflector below.

Developed in Lightroom 3 and retouch was made in Photoshop, mostly skin retouch and some minor contrast adjustments.