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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  1. Great Info. Keep up the good work.

  2. Great stuff. Your website is a gold mine!

    What variations would you use with a model who is “heavier, has blemishes or wrinkles”, etc.?

  3. I agree, this is the type of photography I enjoy doing, and your help in explaining how to go about it is like fexy01 said; a gold mine.

    Thank you…

  4. Great stuff as usual!!!