Simple, Yet Dramatic Light for Headshots and Portraits

Kassi on Lighting Essentials
This is what I refer to as my “Classic Glamour” light. Single light, with large umbrella, shiny fill card and two large fill cards close in on both sides. I can control the fill by moving the shiny card up and down. In this shot it is right out of frame.

I keep the umbrella as low as possible and if I raised the camera an inch you would see the bottom of the umbrella.

In this shot, we simply removed the fill card and let the shadows go under the chin and nose. It is a bit more dramatic, but with a face like this it is simply amazing.

This light is not condusive to every face, for instance if there are lots of blemishes. It would not be a good choice for heavy people or those with lots of lines their faces. The increased contrast would bring out the wrinkles and lines instead of diminishing them with the fill card.
Kassi on Lighting Essentials
Below is the Diagram for doing the lighting yourself. The squares are 1foot and the set is very close to scale.
Kassi on Lighting Essentials

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I am in love with light.

Also known as Don Giannatti, photography has been the focus of my life for most of my adult years. I have written three books for Amherst Media (available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble: keyword 'don giannatti'. Lighting Essentials is my flagship blog and ezine with a slightly different slant than most photography related blogs. If you are interested in becoming a better photographer, check out Thanks for visiting.

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