The Basics of a One Light Setup: A Lighting Tutorial

The Basics of a One Light Setup: A Lighting Tutorial


Lately we’ve had a lot of readers asking for advice about simple lighting techniques for shooting portraits. Here’s a good video from TheSlantedLens that gives some good basic information on how to set up a one light setup.

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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

Some Older Comments

  • HES September 21, 2013 05:03 am

    Not really a true one-light tutorial. It included reflectors, extra stands, and other equipment that many people don't have. How about a true one-light tutorial: And let's make it really simplified--speedlite flash on a stand, shoot-thru or bounced unbrella, and a single shooter (no assistants or other modifiers) actually holding the camera? Ideas covered are good, but not feasible from my perspective.

  • Daniel June 26, 2013 07:19 am

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  • Don Simpson March 23, 2013 10:26 am

    Not my idea of a basic tutorial. What amateur has that kind of a studio, crew, or equipment? How about changing the equipment to a single speedlight and handheld reflector. Change the crew to a single friend, forget the fancy makeup artistry and then it would be basic.

  • Bobgood1 March 23, 2013 02:20 am

    Thanks for the Video on lighting. It was very informative. It gave me something to think about when taking portraits.

  • gnslngr45 March 22, 2013 11:50 pm

    Being able to only afford one light, this is helpful.
    Most of my photos are outdoors. Still learning the indoor portrait shot - but it doesn't help that my subjects are age 5 & under. Not easy to practice studio shots with energetic/restless kids.


  • Wiltshire Paul March 22, 2013 08:26 am

    I really appreciated the techniques discussed about the lighting arrangement - a simple set of rules that produces great results (the older I get the more I realise that the simple solutions to problems seem to produce the best results!)

    However ...... what was the point of pulling frames from a video recording! even at full HD (1080p) the image resolution is, quite frankly, terrible. Never mind the problems associated with shutter speed/motion blur. Shooting with a camera and lens of this quality and then not taking advantage of the potential high quality results seems pointless to me.

  • PhotosJHS March 22, 2013 03:00 am

    A very simple and quick explanation of a complex subject made this presentation an enjoyable and a understandable lesson. A lot in a little time.

  • Swampgeek March 16, 2013 12:48 am

    Nice video and some interesting ideas. I have just recently gotten into the flash side of photography and got my speedlight, lighting stand, shoot through umbrella, and adapter. It really makes a difference in the end result. I also really like the stuff over at as well. Great for the beginners to experts... Great video thanks for the extra info...