One light portraits — Photography podcast #38

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #38 talks about cre­at­ing dra­matic por­traits using only 1 light. Using 1 light cre­ates very harsh shad­ows which is PERFECT for a dra­matic por­trait. The fol­low­ing 2 shots illus­trate this dra­matic effect. In the first shot Lorne and Boog are being lit by 1 light located 45 degrees toward the right. The sec­ond shot is side­light. Both these shots use no reflec­tor to bounce light back into the sub­jects’ faces. Note that the light in the sec­ond pho­to­graph reveals a lot of skin tex­ture, so this type of light­ing would not be good for a ‘fash­iony’ shot in most cases. Thanks to Lorne and Boog for being the mod­els. I Love how lit­tle Boog is star­ing me down in the first shot. You can click all the shots to make them tastier on the eyes.

One light portrait

1 light portrait - side lighting

You can down­load this pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast directly by click­ing the pre­ced­ing link or lis­ten to it almost imme­di­ately with the embed­ded player below this image.

Photo of the week
This week, the pho­to­graph is by Zseike and I com­ment in the pod­cast on why I think this pho­to­graph is fantastic.

Photo by Zseike

Thanks as always for the com­ments by‚Gary H, ‚Andre, Tom, Yves Janse, David and Mikael. We LOVE com­ments and sug­ges­tions so please send more.


  1. Ryan Jennings says:

    How do you achieve the dark dark black background?

    • admin says:

      Sure — If the back­ground is black fab­ric and no light hits it, it stays black. Sounds sim­ple but it’s not always easy to make sure the main light does not hit the back­ground.
      For this rea­son it’s always best to have MINIMUM 5–6 feet between sub­ject and background.

  2. Ry Tron says:

    It’s weird to meet peo­ple you know, but you don’t know, you know? Had this site book­marked since for­ever, but didn’t put 1 and 1 together when you gave me your card at Pod­Camp yes­ter­day. Schweet stuff!


  1. […] read­ing: A few quick tips A pod­cast on por­traits with only one light source An inter­est­ing read on night por­traits var addthis_pub = ”; var addthis_language = ‘en’;var […]

  2. […] lenses — pos­ing mod­els — using reflec­tors — stu­dio setups for begin­ners — cheap macro pho­tog­ra­phy — one light por­traits — low-light pho­tog­ra­phy — using his­tograms to pre­vent clip­ping — your rights as a photographer — […]

  3. […] One light por­traits — Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #38 Feb­ru­ary 22, 2008 on 11:10 am | In Pho­tographs , Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­casts , Pho­tog­ra­phy tips , pod­cast­ing dig­i­tal cam­era tips […]

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