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A Simple, Consistent, Dramatic One-Light Portrait Setup


If you’re looking for a simple lighting setup for dramatic portraits, look no further. Photographer Aaron Anderson has put together a lighting tutorial that will show you how he uses one light, a black flag, and a white card to capture beautiful, dramatic headshots.

The setup is simple. A strobe inside of an octabbox is your key light, with a black flag placed right in the middle in front of the light. On the other side of the subject is a white card helping to create a little bit of bounce/fill.

The setup looks like this:


Those three elements together help form a nice soft strip of light down your subject’s face with beautiful, even shadows wrapping around either side.

But Aaron doesn’t stop by showing you how to set up the lights, pick your gear, and take the shot. Knowing how important processing is, he actually created a second video that walks you though all the edits he made to the portrait captured in the video above.

Starting in Camera RAW and going into Photoshop, watch Aaron finish the image in the walkthrough video below:

If you don’t have time to learn this lighting setup now, definitely bookmark both videos for reference later. And if you’d like to see more of Aaron’s work, head over to his website, give his YouTube channel a visit, or give him a follow on Facebook and Instagram.