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Profoto Magnum model portrait

One light model portrait using Profoto Magnum reflector. Photographer Stefan Tell

Recently I took some portraits for a guy wanting to try his luck as a male model, click here for the result from the outdoor portrait session on a cloudy day.

Before that we started in the studio with a very simple lighting setup. Just one Profoto D1 250 Air and a gridded Magnum reflector, and a bookend. On white background. No retouching, just him.


This is a “behind the scenes” from my small photo studio. Camera left is the Profoto D1 250 Air on a AutoPole using a SuperClamp (it saves space on the floor, and you can get the light higher up than many stands can, and it feels really stable). You never want to hear your monobloc fall from 2,5 or 3 meter.


Here is the studio lighting setup diagram from this shot, I used a Nikon D700 (as usual) and a 85mm/1.4 lens at f/3.5. Camera right was a black panel, or a bookend, or v-flat. Just a black panel, blocking light from bouncing back on the shadow side from the white wall. Adding a little extra contrast and blackness to the shadows.

The gridded Magnum reflector and the angle from high up made the shadows under his chin long, but it was low enough to add a little catchlight in his eyes.

We did a lot of portraits with this setup, adding small modification and changed angles here and there. Working with a relatively open studio is very freeing, most of the time I add so much stuff that there is only one angle left that is not blocked by lights, stands, reflectors or other things.

And working with just one light is fun, you can do very much with very small modifications and get completely different results.

The reflector (a Chimera panel with white fabric) might not have been in this picture, but the distance from his face did not do much difference, especially not with a black and white conversion with so much contrast and shadows.

If you have any questions, please write a comment.

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Jackie May 21, 2020, 10:02

    How to créate the black panel or bookened?
    Or what can I buy it ?

    • Stefan Tell May 26, 2020, 13:37

      Hi Jackie.
      If you can get the right material, it is not very complicated to build them yourself. Some kind of foamcore might be easiest, or large cardboard works too. Or just plywood, even if it will get quite heavy. If you can buy them near where you live, I can’t say.

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