Studio 3-Point Lighting

High Contrast 590 472

Lighting Equipment

FlexFlash™ 200W Strobe
OctoDome®: Small
LiteDome®: Medium
HalfDome®: Small

When starting out in photography, lighting can be pretty daunting. Where do I begin? What modifiers should I buy? Where do I position them?

In this video I'll show you how I got started by going over my 3-point lighting setup. This lighting setup is extremely versatile and is perfect for portraits, and excellent when filming an interview.

Looking at the diagram below, you can see I’ve positioned the key light (small OctoDome) over-head and tilted down slightly. I love the OctoDome by Photoflex, because of the beautiful, soft wrapping light the modifier creates. For punchier light, try removing the inner and outer diffusion.

The fill light is a LiteDome: Medium and I have that feathering off. This means that the softest light spills out from the sides of your modifier, rather than the front. Photographers use this to their advantage by making soft light even softer. This method is called "feathering". The final modifier is the HalfDome: Small which I’ve positioned high on a light stand, and aimed it at the model’s hair and shoulders. Doing so creates separation from the background as well as increased depth.

Behold the final image! Very little had to be done to this image in terms of retouching. I used Capture One for the RAW conversion and then processed the image to black and white in Adobe Photoshop using various adjustment layers.

Once you know 3-point lighting, you can then build upon those principals to create more dramatic lighting. Keep in mind, when I say "building" that doesn't always refer to adding light. In this case, I've subtracted light, in order to "build" upon the photo.

Take this image for example. I've powered off the overhead light and illuminated the side of the model’s face that is furthest away from the camera. This method is known as short lighting, and creates instant drama.

The camera I used in the video was the Nikon D810 and Sigma 24-105 ART Lens.

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Written and photographed by Andrew Foord.


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