Quick portrait lighting

Hey guys,

Here is a quick tutorial on some easy to use lighting.
Today I was shooting the stunning Jenny Miller so we decided to make a tutorial on one of the easiest lighting set ups going.
I’m not sure what the technical name is but I’ve always called this Clamshell lighting.

Required kit:
2x flashguns or strobes
2x soft light modifiers (today I used a shoot through umbrella and a small softbox)
remote or sync lead
and thats it!

Position your lights one above the other with an opening to point your camera through. Then turn the top light towards the ground until it is at about 45 degrees (you will need to play with this and alter depending on the position of your model) and then adjust your lower light source to look up at the subject. The two surfaces of the modifiers now look kinda like a clamshell opening or an open book with the camera poking out between the two of them.

Photo 16-02-2015 14 25 39

Set your lighting ration to best suit your model but remember that what you are trying to achieve is a key light shining down on your subject while the lower light fills in all the shadows to create a nice even light while still giving you more depth than just a large soft box firing straight at them.

Photo 16-02-2015 14 25 46

I find this a really useful set up for when I have to take a headshot with more depth than just bouncing the light.
Alternatively, if you only have one light you can always use a silver reflector as your lower light source and raise it closer to the model until the light balance is correct.
For those of you who want to make things a little different you can use gels or background lights to bring even more to the images. But there is something nice about a clean image shot with this kinda lighting that is probably the reason why you will see it used all the time.

Anyways here is the final image we shot.


model is Jenny Miller – http://www.jennymillerrocks.com

I hope this is useful.
Will be putting together another tutorial soon so any questions just pop them in the comments 🙂


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