Home Studio Portrait Lighting Setup for Beauty Photography

Hey photography friend! How is it going? I am Michael Zelbel. I’m still here in Beijng. Today is my last day. Tomorrow I will be flying back to Germany, but today I still have one spontaneous shooting with a new model, Amelia, she just signed up for the model forum three days ago and I thought she got a wonderful face for a couple of portraits and that’s what we are going to shoot today: some crazy portraits. It will be very interesting so keep on watching. This lighting setup will be all about flexibility. I didn’’t really plan the shooting, but I know that I just want to do some simple portrait. But there are so many variations. I don’t know the model. I don’t know whether face is better from this side or that side, which means: Should have my main light coming from the right or from the left? I don’’t know whether it’’s better to have her long black beautiful hair open and probably place it in front of a black background or whether we should tie it up and place her in front of a white background, we will try out and learn. For that I need a really, really flexible setup. And this is what I am going to do: I will use two speedlights as my main light sources. This is speed light A, and I will have the model sitting over here, and I will have the speedlight a bit higher coming from this side. Like this. Just above the table at a 45 degrees angle. That’s speedlight A. The same on the other side with speed light B. The good thing with those speedlights is, that I can control them from the camera or from the on-camera flash. I can control which one of those is my main light. I just have to dial one control and say the ratio is now 2:1, so two times the amount of light from here and one time the amount from the left. When I tell her to turn her nose to this side, then I just have to dial two time the amount of light from here and one time the amount of filling light from over there, In just on second I can change the position of my main light. I will shoot from over there to over here. I need to fill in from below, and for that I just put some white towel ontop of the table. This will reflect a decent amount of light. Voilà! Beauty light from all sides and nothing can go wrong. ETTL – Even I cannot mess it up! Good, now the background! Over here I have got windows. I can let down the curtains and then it’’s a bright background, creamy white. It’’s a really bright one, which would need some more light to appear pure white. Or I want to have it black. Black is very simple. I’ve got my big reflector. I just put it over here, lean it against a chair, and when I shout from over there, then now I have got a black background. Since she has got black hair and probably I will have her wearing a black hat, I will need some head light and for that I will use another little speed light. I will hang it under the ceiling and zoom it to 105mm, so it’’s emitting a very directed beam of light. I will hang it this way around, right over here so that it will just hit her head over here. In case I want to have the bright background, I just have to remove this reflector, turn this speedlight around, pull out the built in diffuser so that it zooms out to 14 mm. Then it’s emitting a very broad cone of light to the whole window wall over there. When I now shoot her against the light, then this will be brightened by this speedlight. It’s set to group C, so I can control it from the camera. To brighten up the wall I would probably dial to plus +1, overexpose the wall by one f-stop. To have just a bit of delineation in the hair I would set it to -3, to have just a little it of light over here. It’’s just a matter of two seconds to change the setup. Okay, now we can try out lots of things within a few minutes. Let’’s do so. There you have it. Just a little portrait shooting, but with quite some variation. The speedlights, especially the ETTL element of the speedlights, was quite helpful. It makes it a whole lot faster. So I hope you enjoyed it and I hope you have fun with your shoots! I hope to see you soon! Until then, I wish you good light! Bye bye Subtitles by the Amara.org community

100 Replies to “Home Studio Portrait Lighting Setup for Beauty Photography”

  1. damn… I really like your tutorials, as you simply show that its no miracle te create functional setups but… who owns 4 speedlights????

    Can't you do a tutorial of which hardware you use in general and how to find affordable variations for non pros…?!

    Thanx man!


  2. This guy needs more promotion! You should get on Google+ or something, perfect place to share your images in high quality and to post your videos! Best and most interesting videos I've seen on this topic, and also you are very easy to listen to, you accent is cool and not boring at all!

  3. Thank you so much for sharing!!! Is she ok? The model look upset or tired?
    I wish you the best and I love your video! I had to subscribe!

    God bless and thank you so much for inspiring me and others!

  4. You help alot, Michael. Have really enjoyed your humour, your down to earth explanations, and above all, your quest to help and educate.

  5. You are a refreshing photographer. I like you, am always striving to keep lighting simple but effective. Like all your videos so far. Keep up the good work.

  6. I love your videos, Great tips and using Camera gear we'd all have, And you take some Brilliant photos as well, Thanks for all the good advice.

  7. Why I love your channel more than any other? 'Cos you always give the most simple and practical solutions and using Speedlites, rather than having us lunking around those humongous and heavy studio lights.

    Thank you so much! Good light to you too! 🙂

  8. simple yet amazing ….just goes to prove that you dont need 1000$ studio strobes with 400$ soft boxes to have a great studio shot…you are amazing …great vid…thanks for sharing!

  9. Great Great Stuff! I have studio lights but they are not convenient to use a lot of the time. Your videos are great for showing how to achieve great shots with the speed lights and technique. Many thanks to you!

  10. Thank you so much for your post I have learned a lot. I used this light set up for my 1st shoot back in 12/2010 and I got great results my work has improved and I look forward to your post!!

  11. i really like your style, im learning with my t3i and various lens with 32 softboxes and 320 flash unit. going to be shooting bikinis in the studio , wondering any tips. on shooting bikinis. lol im mean focusing lenses etc i have 50 1.8 70 -200 is usm 2.8 and tokina 11-16 plus 17-40 2.8 thanks ill keep watching your videos i have some on my page of what i work on. come see.

  12. Good work! How are you using the flash that is on your camera though? Is it just emitting minimal light to set off the slaves on your other flashes?

  13. I love your accent. BTW I am in Germany since 2005, so have really developed a taste for this accent 🙂

  14. This was fantastic!!  Such a simple setup and so easy!!  I have a studio kit just like that, but I haven't gotten around to practice!  Thanks for sharing!!!

  15. Love all your videos.This one is very helpful as well. Love the ribbon around the mug shots. very original. Was that lucite on the table too?

  16. I just love this video. the lighting setup is great, so simple.I don't need to buy a thing. Just need a Model.The cat will not sit still.

  17. Hi Michael. Can you tell the brand of your large background and is it collapsible? Another great video.
    Good light.

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