#10: The black and white portrait

Nikon D800, 85mm f1.8 @f6.3 ISO 100, 1/200s


  • 1x Octabox 90cm (left open) with a 500Ws monoblock
  • 1x parabolic umbrella 90cm with a 500Ws monoblock


In this setup, a parabolic umbrella forms the base. The light is very defined and creates highly visible highlights.

A second open Octabox brightens the shadows created by the model’s pose and brings some light into the shadow areas.

Using an infinity cove (a.k.a. cyclorama), with its gentle curvature, ensures a smooth transition between floor and wall.

The individual light sources

Main light

As you can see in the picture here, the main light is almost parallel to the model; it’s a really hard light that casts dark shadows on the left side of the model. The direction of the light is very clear and does not raise any questions.

Fill light

The scene is brightened very subtly from the front. This light mustn’t compete with or overpower the main light. You don’t want to introduce any more obvious light sources into the scene. The shadows here, falling behind the model, are much softer than those cast by the main light.


For the pictures in the article we used the light simulation “Set.A.Light 3D”. You can download the lighting setup and try everything for yourself.

If you’ve never worked with Set.a.Light before, you should give it a try!

There is also a free demo version on the website, which you can use to open our set.

all setups

Recommendations from the Pros


Alice’s Garden


Tim Burton style background at 10,000px x 5,625px
12 lighting moods, mix and match freely
Depth and sky channels


300 files in over 11GB
Perfect for smaller photo studio
Backgrounds, Textures, Ambient Effects & Stocks
Everything for creepy, gloomy & morbid composing

Out of stock


Retouching Toolkit

Rated 4.67 out of 5

Retouching Tools for Professionals
Photoshop CC+
For both Mac and PC


Elements Bundle

Rated 5.00 out of 5

Over 900 files and textures
Up to 36 MP resolution jpg files
Commercially licensed

Average rating of all bundled packages:
Rated 4.8 out of 5

Leave a Reply