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All photographers need light, be it daylight, sunlight, flashlight, or even moon light, we all need light, because without light there is only darkness.

I see photographers spending hours setting up 3, 4, 5, 6 or even more lights to light a single subject in a studio – fine if you are being commissioned to shoot a big brand commercial where you only have one opportunity to pull off the shot, but for normal paying clients it’s really NOT necessary.

Sometimes people over complicate things, you don’t really NEED to use multiple lights to get the best out of your subject. You might think that using a main light with a fill light and perhaps a hair light to separate them from the background is the way it should be done – and if you read most of the text books on studio lighting you will be right – but you don’t HAVE to do it that way.

If you know how to shape and modify light, and position the light correctly, you can create a stunningly simple image that your clients will love.

This image of Emily was taken with a single light, a single exposure and the only Photoshop work was to convert to mono, everything else is straight out of camera.

One Light

Have a think about how I shot this, with just a single light source.

With one light it is quite simple to add light modifiers to shape the light and add some drama to your image.

This picture of Holly was shot using a continuous light source off to my left and simply shot through a set of blinds strapped to a light stand. Careful positioning results in a pleasing composition, with the light striking the eyes and the mouth.

One light

So you see, it is quite easy to create beautiful and simple images that clients will love, with no more than a single light source and some light modifiers.

Best – Colin