AMAZING 1 Light Setup Most Beginner Photographers NEVER Consider

AMAZING 1 Light Setup Most Beginner Photographers NEVER Consider

Are you looking for lighting techniques tha can create beautiful dramatic photographs ? Sometimes it is easy to setup but hard to think of, especially for beginners. Today’s video will show you one of the most uncommon lighting position, which for only one single light source, but gives you nice dramatic images.

Want to level up your photograpy lighting RIGHT NOW? Follow this step-by-step tutorial with a live view of actual camera settings, you will find how this can be so amazing to achieve an uncommon but beautiful, classic studio photography lighting in Seconds, with just 1 simple step!

Jiggie Alejandrino, the portrait & wedding photographer we introduced before, brings about new lighting tutorial this week. He’s the Sony Ph Brand Ambassador, the Zeiss Camera Lens Ambassador, and regarded as one of the most reputable lighting specialists.

Today Jiggie’s going to share & demo this overhead lighting setup, one of the most uncommon lighting position, which it's actually not considered by a lot of beginner photographers.

Instead of hitting the subject by the side lighting as our conventional thinking, the overhead lighting setup has the light directly above the subject. You may question ‘What about all the shadows that will be underneath the face?’. And you will also get the answer in today’s tutorial.

For more inspirations: 

Continuous Lighting vs. Strobes:2 Portrait Lighting Choice You Should Know!

First, the Basic Settings of your camera:

  • Shooting Mode: Manual mode;
  • Shutter Speed: 1 /250
  • Aperture: f/2.8
  • ISO: 100
  • Flash: Set on Group A, at 1/16 power.
  • High Speed Sync: Turned off

Next we move on to the Lighting Setup. To get the perfect overhead lighting, take test shots:

  • Test Shot 1. You will get more light in the backdrop rather than on the subjct’s face, and that is the problem with overhead lighting set this way. It's a very easy fix, all you have to do is move the light a little bit further away from the background, and it's going to be hitting more of her face.

  • Test Shot 2. Without changing any settings. Such a big difference already in terms of the illumination in the face. But if your find it underexposed, make your flash a bit stronger and maybe put it at 1/8. Then it will be a lot better.

Now we're still getting a bit of shadow on her face, so how do we remove that? That is where posing comes in.

  • Test Shot 3. You need to understand that the model should always be facing towards the source of illumination. If the source of illumination is on the floor, then the model should look for her light and look towards the floor.  

If your are dealing with non-models situation, for example the subjects that you might end up shooting are not really familiar with those principles, you have to be able to direct them. Make sure that your subject is facing towards the light all the time. That's the most essential thing that you have to tell your subject with a light set up like this. Move her body this way that she is getting more light on her face. Take the shot.

Next you need to be able to get emotional that you've dialed it in. Tweak the pose a little bit more, get a little bit of emotion in your images. That means you always have to match the pose to the light. In other words, if you have your light set up this way, you know very well that you will actually do some dramatic poses.

Tip: When you want your subject get into that pose, count “one two three”. On three, let your subject breathe in. ( Jiggie: Get into that pose first, tilt your head away there, close your eyes. On the count one, two, three, breathe in. )

You will notice it brings her entire body up, so you get that feeling already that that emotion that they're gonna try to get.

So, back to the question where we started ‘What about all the shadows that will be underneath the face?’ It doesn't necessarily mean shadows in the eye is a bad thing. The conclusion is, it really depends on the type of mood and portrait that you're trying to create.

With this step-by-step tutorial, you will see, you can always create unique beautiful photography lighting and you only need one light source. Choose the correct background, light & modifier, follow the guide and try the lighting position & camera settings by test shots, unique & beautiful studio photography lighting can be easy

Regarding the backdrops, Jiggie chose a hand painted backdrop, which is completely well qualified for the job.

For More Inspirations: 

Kate Hand-Painted Collections

Kate 2021 Mother's Day Backdrops Collection

Kate 2021 Spring Backdrops Collection

Read More Resources: Handbook of Photography Backdrop

This is an exercise that you can do with basic equipments & studio space, and of course, you also need a fantastic Hand-Painted Photography Backdrop. Hope you can enjoy this video, and get some inspirations on lighting your own classic portrait photography.


Equipment used:

Backdrop: Kate Backdrop:

Camera: Sony A7R MarkIV -

 Lens: Sony 24-70 2.8GM -

Flash: Sony F60RM -

Trigger: Sony Wireless Radio Commander (FA-WRC1M) -

Modifier: Phottix 120CM Flash Holder: MagMod MagShoe:

 Wifi Transmitter:


About The Photographer: Jiggie Alejandrino is a portrait and wedding photographer from the Philippines. He’s the Sony Ph Brand Ambassador, the Zeiss Camera Lens Ambassador, the International Phottix Pro Teamer, and the MagMod Philippines Brand Ambassador. He's and considered to be one of the most reputable lighting specialists in the Philippines, conducting workshops nationwide and have been featured in various photography magazines. I was also a multi-awarded portrait and advertising photographer.

Learn More:Youtube Channel  ;


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