Lighting Eleven People in a Cigar Lounge with a Single Speedlite

Photographer Joey Celis needed to shoot a photograph of eleven people in a dimly lit cigar lounge, but found it difficult to light the models without having lighting gear appear in the shot. In the end, he was able to make the image above with a single Speedlite.

His trick was to shoot each group of people separately and combine the photographs together. This video demonstrates the process:

In the video you can see I’m actually using a gridded softbox on a boom with a CTO’d speedlight triggered by some trusty PocketWizards.

The gridded softbox allowed me to have a much more focused beam of light. The CTO helped match the room/ambient light and to give it a much warmer color than without one. [#]

Image credit: Photograph by Joey Celis and used with permission

  • Tangent77

    So technically it was about 8 speedlights if they weren’t photoshopped to the shitter.

  • Steffen Goerlitz

    Agreed. It’s a great photo, but the title and initial description are very misleading. Again, great shot and great photoshop work; it comes together well… but to say with a single speedlight is a bit off.

  • ezra

    Photography is all about problem solving…good thinking…

  • ezra

    Photography is all about problem solving…good thinking…

  • ezra

    Photography is all about problem solving…good thinking…

  • NDT

    Its a pretty common way to shoot these days. Car jobs i shoot often involve lighting each individual panel and then blending in post. Reflective subjects like cars often involve many blended exposures usually around 30 as a ballpark

  • Toni Aull

    Awesome Creativity!!

  • Nick G. Botner

    Are there any examples of this process on line?

  • MD

    I’m so tired of misleading headlines on blogs. This is the Huffington Post mentality of misleading headline to drive clicks. This was a perfectly interesting post about how to accomplish this shot, but for some reason I feel cheated because I got a bait and switch.

    What’s wrong with calling it “How to light 7 people in a cigar room using multiple exposures?”

  • Anonymous
  • Jostein Roalkvam

    Yes because Zach was the first man ever to blend different exposures in post. Please.

  • jerome de guzman

    Very elegant and the beauty of it is truly undeniable.

    Padron Cigars

  • Janez

    technically is one speedlite. Normally when doing a shots people are more concerned about budget then the involved post-production, so this is a good way of solving the budget part and even showing what can be done without an army of fancy and expensive professional lightning gear. In the end it always come down only to results not the gear used.

  • Glen Berry

    Maybe the problem with that headline, is the fact that there were actually 11 people in the final image? ;)