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The Best One Light Setup for Portrait Photography on a Budget

3/14/2023 ISO 1200 Magazine 0 Comments


In portrait photography, lighting is everything. And while it's easy to get caught up in expensive equipment, the truth is that a great portrait can be achieved with just one light, even if you're on a budget. That's why Miguel Quiles, a professional portrait photographer, is here to share his best one light setup with you.

The first thing to note is that you can use any light for this setup. Miguel is using the Westcott FJ400 strobe, but a speed light, constant light, or other strobes will work just as well. The key is to pay attention to the techniques and settings he's showing you, as they will apply no matter what light you're using.

The most important part of the one-light setup is the light modifier. Miguel recommends a seven-foot umbrella, which you can get in a three-pack for under $200. The pack comes with a silver umbrella for harder light, a white interior umbrella for the softest light, and a shoot-through umbrella for a more natural look. By having all three, you'll be prepared for any portrait situation.

When it comes to positioning the light, Miguel recommends having the modifier directly in front of your subject, about five to six feet away. This will give you a nice even light on your subject and background. However, you can also move the light to the side for more dimensionality and use a white V-flat or board to fill in any shadows.

With this one-light setup, you can achieve a variety of looks and styles in your portrait photography. And the best part is that it won't break the bank. So whether you're just starting out or looking to simplify your setup, give this one light setup a try and see what amazing portraits you can create.

You may also like: 5 Dramatic Portrait Tips by Miguel Quiles

About Miguel Quiles:

Miguel Quiles is a Florida-based commercial portrait photographer who’s been involved in the industry for over 15 years, starting off first as a salesman at a local camera store. Since then, Miguel has been refining his skills and pushing the limits of his creative abilities. As a self-taught photographer, Miguel hopes to share his experience and knowledge with new and upcoming photographers who wish to take their work to the next level. Let's Get Connected:

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