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One Light Artist Headshot

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, one light artist headshot. Photographer Stefan Tell

This is how my studio was set up for this headshot. I usually let my models stand up, but this time I let her sit in front of a large Chimera panel with silver fabric which I used as a reflector.

The main and only light comes from the Profoto D1 camera left with a Magnum reflector, shot through another, and larger, Chimera panel. This one with diffusion fabric stretched over it to create a semi transparent screen above her.

Note: The medium softbox on the left is not on, I tried it but it didn’t look as I wanted it. My plan was to add a gradient to the background, but chose not to.

Lighting Setup Diagram, One Light Headshot

This diagram describing the setup is not exact, it the placement of the silver reflector looks a bit funny.

I did this for the test shot I did before she arrived, but otherwise it is correct. The funny thing is how different the almost same setup can look with a woman sitting down in front of the reflector, compared to the test shot in black and white below.

If you want to read the post on this Profoto magnum portrait, just click the link.


I tried a couple of different positions for her, but sitting in a chair in front of a reflector she can’t use as a support or lean on, the options and poses are quite limited. Anyway, it was a headshot they wanted, and it turned out good I think.

This last example is taken straight on, the first one I changed position myself and moved a little under the light. From this angle, the shadows from her hat makes the eyes and eye sockets a little dark, but thanks to the reflector, and the large light source above, you can see a little sparkle in her eyes.

Later the same day I did two more assignments, and added first one more light and then a third. Mostly to try not making the photos for the different clients looking the same. It was both business portraits, so they automatically looks different.

Here is the link to the post on the Business portrait using two lights and the Business Portrait with 3 lights.

The background is almost the same in all photos, but adding another light can easily turn it into something slightly different.

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