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Studio lighting diagram – TV-style portrait photography

I have always liked the hard light you see in many tv-programs, the ones with news anchors and guys in suits who requires many thick layers of makeup not to shine in the light too much.

Profoto Magnum

So when I got the chance I took out my new find, a Profoto Magnum Reflector that I had bought used at a very good price. Together with a grid and a ND-filter, I used it as my main light in the studio. My problem in my small photo studio is that the Profoto Compacts that I use gives me more light than I need, so that’s why I used a ND-filter to lessen the output a couple of steps. If I had a Profoto D1 or an AcuteB, it wouldn’t be a problem, but they are on my wish list for now.

Lighting Setup Diagram for a hard TV-style portrait in the studio

Hard to tint a dark background

My model for the day stood in front of a grey paper background that I tinted a bit with the light from a Profoto 2×3 ft. Softbox fitted with a layer of blue gel. The effect is maybe not so visible as I would have wished for, maybe I will try the same trick on a slightly lighter background colour next time. So the blue colour will have a better chance.

Some hair light, please

To make the portrait a bit more interesting, I added a hair/rim light from a Beauty Dish (Profoto Compact 300 with a Softlight Reflector) fitted with a yellow gel as a contrast to the blue/grey background.

The camera I used was, as always, a Nikon D700 with a 85 mm/1.4.

After the shoot was done, I went through the photos in Lightroom to pick the best pics. The light was good, I think,  from the beginning, but I added some strength to the blue colour in the background. After some layers with curves and some dodging and burning, I was happy.

Next time I try this kind of portrait lighting, I think I will use a lighter background, or just light it with a snoot so the effect from the coloured gel will get more visible and contrasty.

Please visit me on Flickr for more of my studio lighting setups diagrams.

If you have any good examples with setups, please let me know.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • chad bonanno August 28, 2010, 06:35

    Youve really inspired here and I REALLY appreciate the diagrams !