Using a One Light Set Up to Achieve Studio Photography
No matter what you do or don’t have at your disposal, you can get studio quality photography in your own living room. I learned this lighting technique from the amazing Caryn Esplin and it has become my favorite skills I’ve learned to achieve high-quality looking studio photography. She calls this technique SQIBB or Studio Quality Invisible Black Background. With your camera settings and use of speedlites you can achieve studio quality photography right at home. Glyn Dewis is the master at this one light set up. Check out his work!
For this studio quality photo series I had three pieces of equipment that I needed in order to achieve the studio photography that I’ve come to love. The first is a Yongnuo 560-IV speedlite. They are very affordable and work as well as high quality speedlites made by other brands such as Nikon and Canon. The next piece of equipment I used go hand in hand: a trigger. The triger mounts on the hotshoe of the camera and triggers the flash to go off when the shutter is released. The last piece of equipment I used was a Rogue Flashbender XL Pro. This attachment goes on the end of a flash and acts as a portable light modifier to achieve soft studio lighting as opposed to a speedlite unmodified by light attachment. Check out the links to my equipment list at the end of this blog.
For camera settings I started with an aperture around f/10 with a shutter speed around 1/200 and an ISO of 100. With a higher shutter speed and aperture my image would be darker and would be one of the elements I used to tell a story through my photo.
For my first image I wanted to create a really moody and emotive portrait. With lighting patterns in mind I wanted to use either a split or rembrandt light pattern to capture emotion and to tell a story. For this shot I had my model Kaleigh looking down and her body angled toward camera left. I moved my speedlite with the Rogue Flashbender XL Pro opposite my camera to get the light angled toward the right side of her face. This lighting, called short lighting, is created when light comes from the opposite side of the camera with the darker shadows closer to camera. This lighting with the split lighting pattern visually tell an emotional and moody story that I hoped to capture.
For my next SQIBB shot I wanted to use an object that had texture and that would also be able to communicate this story and feeling of being worn down through time. I found this vintage camera and thought it would work perfectly with my vision. I then set up this camera on wooden bench and just started shooting. Although I wasn’t shooting with a model I still had different lighting patterns going through my mind so I knew how to create moodiness and contrast in my image. I had my speedlite with the Rogue Flashbender camera right and was happy with how the light fell on the object and the bench immediately under it to create this focal point.
For my last studio quality photo I wanted to stick with the theme of worn down textures so I decided to photograph my roommate’s leather boot. With my speedlite and flashbender I was able to create a snoot, or a concentrated hollow opening, that my light could pass through to get this controlled studio lighting technique. All of my photos in this series were captured using this flashbender snoot technique. In post I added clarity, adjusted the hue and saturation of the brown leather, and sharpened the overall image to get that awesome texture to pop.
If you ever want to create a high contrast, moody portrait or fine art image, make sure to use this simple and awesome technique. Tag me on instagram at @kaylataculogphoto so I can see those awesome photos. Let’s get to shooting!