Using an octabox and concealed light for a portrait
Nikon D800 | ISO100 | 85mm | ƒ/8

This portrait was created using two flashes: a 100cm deep octabox to the right of the camera, and a second flash with a normal reflector positioned behind the model to light the background.

Lighting set-up with an octabox and concealed light

This is a very simple set-up when you consider a few things.

The main light—the deep octabox—is relatively far away from the model. This means that there’s no large light drop on the model and the light is uniform. In addition the light is relatively hard, which is definitely what you want here. Remember: the harder the light, the higher the subjectively perceived visual acuity.

The background has been lit separately and both the model’s shadow and the background remain beautifully patterned. The light source—a flash with normal reflector—was hidden behind the model. When you’re using a concealed light source like this you have to position yourself carefully according to the model, and take small steps left or right when adjusting your stance.

I love this setup: it is almost like window light. The main light source is close to the camera and the second flash doesn’t create too much shadow. The background was two stops darker than the model, because the focus of the viewer should naturally be on the model.

The height of the softbox is important when it comes to the shadow around the nose. You will need to vary the light’s height until the model’s nose throws a slight downward shadow. Aim to have the light as high as you need it, but as deep as possible.

You can download the set file for Set.a.light 3D here.

Technical information:

  • Flash: Multiblitz X10
  • Lightshaper: Deep octabox, normal reflector
  • Camera: Nikon D800
  • Lens: Nikkor 1:1.8G
  • Background: Gravity Backdrops


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