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3 Simple One-Light Setups for Epic Portraiture

3/29/2024 ISO 1200 Magazine 0 Comments

In this video, SLR Lounge venture to Joshua Tree to put Profoto's latest line of Softboxes to the test. Thanks to their new sleek and compact design, crafting stunning portraits on the go has never been more effortless.

In this stunning Joshua Tree location, Pye Jirsa, founder and partner of SLR Lounge, demonstrates three simple one-light setups for creating captivating portraits.

Gear Used:

  • Profoto B10 Plus strobe
  • Profoto Softbox 3' Octa with half-stop diffusion
  • Canon EOS R5 camera
  • Canon RF 70-200mm lens (or similar telephoto lens)

Scene 1: Dramatic Backlighting with Cactus Garden Ambiance

Embrace the Natural Light: Position your subjects with their backs towards the sun, creating a beautiful backlit effect. Utilize the natural light to set the overall exposure.

Add Dramatic Light: Introduce the Profoto B10 Plus strobe with the Profoto Softbox 3' Octa positioned off-camera and slightly behind the subjects. This adds a touch of light for a more dramatic look.

Optional: Leverage Depth: Consider stopping down the aperture to f/11 for increased depth of field, highlighting both the foreground and background elements.

Scene 2: Edge Lighting with Rock Formation Contrast

Utilize the Sun Strategically: Frame your subjects against a dark rock face, letting the sun act as a natural edge light. Play with the sun's position to control the amount of flare.

Butterfly Lighting for Soft Illumination: Employ the Profoto B10 Plus strobe with the Softbox directly above the subjects, mimicking a butterfly lighting setup. This adds a flattering touch of light on their faces.

Experiment with Angles: Capture both wide and close-up portrait variations using the same butterfly lighting setup.

Scene 3: Subtle Light for Sunlit Silhouette

Capture the Natural Light Silhouette: Frame the scene with the sun positioned between the camera and the subjects, creating a beautiful sunlit silhouette effect.

Add Fill Light for Detail: Introduce the Profoto B10 Plus strobe with the Softbox positioned on the opposite side of the sun. Use a high power setting to add a subtle amount of light, revealing details in the shadows.


These three one-light setups demonstrate the versatility of using a single strobe to achieve stunning portrait results. By leveraging natural light and strategically positioning your light source, you can create dramatic, edgy, or subtly enhanced portraits that will elevate your photography.

About SLR Lounge:

SLR Lounge is a photography community dedicated to providing photography tutorials, Lightroom Tutorials, Photoshop Tutorials, photography news and more! Pye Jirsa is the founder and partner of SLR Lounge and Lin and Jirsa Photography, a boutique Southern California photography studio comprised of an incredible team that shoots over 300 weddings each year, with nearly 1,000 yearly client commissions. Let's Get Connected: |  Twitter | Facebook 

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