August 2021 // The Lighting Edition

august 2021


16”x24” Canvas Wrap + Wood Floating Frame $64.99 +S&H ( Yes. Price includes both Frame and Print. ) ( Yes this is our everyday price. )

The perfect fit & finish. Canvas Wrap + Wood Floating Frame.

Poplar Wood

Solid Construction

Ready to Hang

1 ¾” Depth

Free White Label Shipping

16”x24” 20”x30” 24”x36” 30”x40”

$64.99 +S&H $81.99 +S&H $94.99 +S&H $139.99 +S&H

8”x10” 11”x14” 12”x18” 16”x20”

$32.99 +S&H $45.99 +S&H $50.99 +S&H $58.99 +S&H


AUGUST 2021 | ISSUE 107

1 2 Post-Production Tips: Artmaking Through Digital Photo Editing with David Byrd


Do a Lot With a Little Time: How to Pose a Bride with Vanessa Joy


Lighting Techniques for Weddings with André Brown


Product Spotlight with the Profoto B10 Plus & NEW OCF Softboxes


Lighting On a Budget with Angela Marklew


Which Light Modifier Is Right for Your Portrait Shoot? with Brandon Woelfel

Lighting Fundamentals – Improve Your Portraits With Light with David Beckham 80


Balancing Flash and Ambient for Photographers with John David Pittman

106 120

Stories By Light | Lighting Setups That Set You Apart with Karen Bagley

How To Shoot Indoors With Natural Light with Meg Loeks


Colorful Lighting With Gels with Matt Monath


Just a Reflector with Sal Cincotta


Creative Ways to Light Your Images at Night with Benjamin Lane and Sirjana Singh

176 190

Creating Impactful Portraits With One Light with Toni Shaw

Inspirations from Our Readers


Size Matters: Super Resolution in Lightroom Classic with Dustin Lucas


Final Inspiration with Matt Monath




90 96












P U B L I S H E R S a l C i n c o t t a

E D I T O R - I N - C H I E F A l i s s a C i n c o t t a

D E S I G N E R E l l i e P l o t k i n

C O P Y E D I T O R A l l i s o n B r u b a k e r

Shutter Magazine ’s focus is on photography education. Our goal is to provide current insightful and in-depth educational content for today’s professional wedding and portrait photographer. Shutter uses the latest technologies to deliver information in a way that is relevant to our audience. Our experienced contributors help us create a sense of community and have established the magazine as one of the leading photography publications in the world.


C O N T R I B U T I N G W R I T E R S A n d r e B r ow n A n g e l a M a r k l ew B e n j a m i n L a n e & S i r j a n a S i n g h

B r a n d o n Wo e l f e l D a v i d B e c k h a m D a v i d B y r d D u s t i n L u c a s J o h n D a v i d P i t t m a n


Shutter Magazine: By photographers, for photographers.

K a r e n B a g l e y M a t t M o n a t h M e g L o e k s S a l C i n c o t t a To n i S h aw Va n e s s a J o y

Every year im amazed at how lighting has changed over the years. Portability. Power. Shaping options.

Its an awesome time to be a photographer. - Sal Cincotta



TITLE: laidback


CAMERA: canon eos 5dsr

EXPOSURE: f/11 @ 1/125 iso 200 LIGHTING: key light: profoto b1x with 5’ octa single inner diffusion (placed model’s center-left) fill light single bounce from v-flat (placed model’s right) background light: profoto b1x with 1x1 soft box (placed model’s rear from above) LENS: canon 24-70 2.8l shot @40mm

MODEL: julianna paige

ABOUT THE IMAGE: After a long 2020 (thank you covid), Julianna was looking to get back in front of the camera and update her book. My stylist Elin, Julianna, and I put together 5-8 possible looks (wardrobe, poses, makeup, etc.) on a Pinterest board so we could collectively get a sense of our shoots direction. With this particular look we wanted to showcase Julianna’s amazing hair and angular features. We chose a wider angle lens and closer shooting distance, while being mindful not go too wide and over distort the image. When posing Julianna, I wanted to create as much separation in her arms and legs while trying to create as many parallels or continuing lines as possible. Keeping our lights at a high output (the key light was at 8.8) meant we could shoot at a higher aperture to keep everything in focus front to back.

Post-Production Tips: Artmaking Through Digital Photo Editing | David Byrd

with David Byrd

Post-Production Tips: Artmaking Through Digital Photo Editing | David Byrd



I’ve often said that digital photo editing is the other half of the equation to artmaking through photography. Yes, the pure art of photography is incredibly important to learn and master; however, the images you capture can be taken further with your imagination, creativity, and a program like Photoshop. Using Photoshop or Lightroom to augment your images into art is the primary goal, but we’ve all needed to rely upon digital image editing software to rescue an image, repair our mistakes or even make up for the gear and options we lack with photography. I want to take you through two image examples demonstrating the process to rescue, repair and augment a basic out-of-camera image into the final pieces of art you see before you.



In this first image featuring Madison Rieck, I was relying upon the natural light coming in from the windows to be my main source of light. At first, I experimented with using a strobe to fill in the shadows and a reflector, but something was just “lost” from that natural light feeling to this sensual scene by using more than one light source. So, I made the choice to rely upon Photoshop and digital photo editing to bring this foundation to art.

Post-Production Tips: Artmaking Through Digital Photo Editing | David Byrd

fig 1


Let’s begin experimenting with the main sliders under the Basic tab in Adobe Camera Raw and see what we can work with. (fig. 1) Each of the controls found here deal with light values of the image in some shape or form. Exposure is a global adjustment that will affect the light and shadows at the same time. Contrast does the same thing, in a different way. The rest of the controls all deal with the light and darks independently and give you greater control over each. My goal is to drive the audience’s focus to Madison’s face rather than any of the hot spots in the scene, like the windows behind her. I also want to create a sculpt to the light and shadow that will help add to the drama of the image. This process is a delicate dance between reducing the light and shadows into the scene, until they balance into a sculpt of light that favors the image. This can be done by utilizing adjustment brushes in bothAdobe Camera Raw or the Develop Module of Lightroom, but I prefer to have the control of a layer mask in Photoshop. On the first pass to the image, I will return detail to the highlights in the windows, the bricks and overall set, while paying attention to the general play of light on Madison. Using the controls in the Basic tab, here are the results. (fig. 2) One of the best areas of ACR to control light is often overlooked in Raw processing, and that’s the Color Mixer tab. Here we can target the colors orange and yellow (found in every human being’s skin tone, regardless of ethnicity) and make further refinements to her face and hair, rather than more global changes from the Basic tab. (fig. 3 & 4)

fig 2

fig 3

fig 4

Post-Production Tips: Artmaking Through Digital Photo Editing | David Byrd

With this second copy of the image, I want to now use the Exposure slider in the Basic tab to globally reduce the brightness of the scene. This will accomplish a few things, the most important of which is to make Madison’s face the brightest part of the scene and get that original feeling of light and shadow back from the natural light. Because we’ve returned some of the detail to the rest of the scene that was originally over-exposed, we have a better-looking image to add that drama of light and shadow. (fig. 5) Now we just need to use a Layer Mask to bring both images together into one solid foundation.

fig 5

A final artistic touch is to use a Curves Adjustment Layer at the top of the layer stack and increase the brightness by a small amount. Then using a Hide All Mask (or Black Mask) we can paint white onto the mask, revealing the brighter light on her face and thus completing the goal of making sure the audience goes to the brightest part of the image first: Madison’s face and body. (fig.6 )

fig 6

To finalize the art, I’ve gone through the retouching process of Frequency Separation and an artistic enhancement to add color, detail and light to the scene. One of the key elements that continues our goal of driving the audience’s focus to Madison is to utilize a vignette as the final step to this image. (fig. 7)

fig 7

Post-Production Tips: Artmaking Through Digital Photo Editing | David Byrd

fig 8


In the next example featuring Stephanie Rosen, let’s first achieve the same goal as we did with Madison by adjusting the light and shadow of this scene (through passes in Adobe Camera Raw) to sculpt the light and push the audience’s focus to the subject. (fig. 8) Now, as much as I enjoy the natural light coming into this scene, I want to add a second light source that has a warm color to balance the purple cooler tone we see in this scene. This could have been achieved on set with a second light source, providing fill to the shadows, utilizing a Color Temperature Orange (CTO) Gel or a gold metallic reflector. Each of those options would have required fine-tuning of the light’s intensity and color on set—limitations of what we can do with those real units, versus using digital photo editing and artistic enhancement—to achieve the final art. The first stage of adding these effects is to use a Gradient Map in the layer stack. I’m choosing a darker tone of orange to add into the shadows of the image and a brighter tone of orange for the highlights. Changing the blending mode of this adjustment layer to Soft Light and reducing the opacity of the layer to 25% gives us a gentle warm tone to the scene; this is what we would expect to have if there was actually a second orange light on the set. (fig. 9)

fig 9

To create the light itself, I want to use a Gradient Fill Adjustment Layer. I’m going to select a gradient that is foreground color to transparency and the Radial style for the gradient, which will place a circle of color in the scene. I can adjust the scale of this and make it brighter or reposition the circle of “light” by clicking on the circle in the actual image and moving it around. Make sure “Align with layer” is not checked in the Gradient Fill dialogue to achieve this. (fig. 10)

fig 10

Post-Production Tips: Artmaking Through Digital Photo Editing | David Byrd

I want to add stages of white, light orange and deep orange color to this gradient, so it will more naturally mimic the stages of color we would expect to see from a real light source. Once you’ve set all the cascading colors you want, select “Ok” for each open dialogue until they are closed. (fig. 11)

fig 11

fig 12

The key to making this illusion real is to change the blending mode of the Gradient Adjustment Layer from Normal to Screen. Now let’s reposition the light flare and change the scale by double-clicking on the Gradient Adjustment Layer thumbnail to open the initial dialogue again. Here I can click on the actual circle of color and move it to the upper left of this frame and then increase the size to make it appear that the light source is just right outside of the camera’s frame. (fig. 12)

Post-Production Tips: Artmaking Through Digital Photo Editing | David Byrd

Some of the final touches to this digital photo editing illusion is to place another vignette into this layer stack, above the main image layers, but below the gradients so we can further focus the direction of light onto the subject. I’ve also reduced the opacity of the Gradient Fill Adjustment Layer to 75% to help with believability. (fig. 13)

fig 13


One of my final mantras of digital photo editing is, “You have to learn why things work in Photoshop.” Developing your skill set in this artform is just as vital as your understanding of photography itself. The more you can achieve in the editing process, the more your artwork will align with your creativity and imagination.

David is an award-winning photographer, Photoshop artist and educator who specializes in unique portrait and photo manipulation art. Through his brand Reality Reimagined, his artwork spans the genres of fantasy, glamour, fashion and all the stories found therein. In 2018, he received the Grand Award from the ShutterFest image competition and is currently nominated for a Grand Imaging Award through Professional Photographers of America. The center of his universe is his wonderful wife Bethany, who reminds him to never be afraid to fly. Together they have traveled the world and continue to explore all the possibilities of Reality Reimagined and the imagination it is based on. website: instagram: @ realityreimagined

Do a Lot With a Little Time: How to Pose a Bride | Vanessa Joy

with Vanessa Joy

Do a Lot With a Little Time: How to Pose a Bride | Vanessa Joy

When you're photographing a bride, there's a lot to encompass: you've got a beautiful background, ideally, but you want nearly all the focus in the photos to be on the bride herself. She's got hair, makeup, the dress, and often her bouquet—all points of focus that can draw the eye, so you're adjusting throughout the session to get the ideal look. Here's how I make a bridal session efficient without leaving out any of the flattering and fun photos that a bride wants to find in her album.


You'll help your bride look her best by having her lean on one leg, creating that beautiful "S" shape that accentuates a bride's beauty. When brides naturally hold their bouquets, they often splay an arm to the side and cover the entire front of their dresses. You'll want to have her lower her bouquet and find a new "spot" for it that keeps it, ideally, from distracting the gaze away from her face or the bodice of the gown, since a lot of visual detail tends to be there. Often you'll want to ask the bride to pull her arms back a bit, since that look comes out quite elegant compared to having arms fully out to her sides. Once you have her posed, you'll start varying your crops and taking the most common poses you'll want for every bride.

Do a Lot With a Little Time: How to Pose a Bride | Vanessa Joy


While you'll have some shots that vary with every bride, a great place to start is with the "Quick Six." This set of shots begins with: • A shot of the bride looking down at her flowers. • A shot of the bride looking into the camera. • A shot of the bride looking out to the side, "into the future" as you might say! You'll often have this shot set so that she can look into where the light is coming from. You'll then do those same three shots but closer in or farther away. You'll want two different distances to get more of the details of the environment in one set, and more details of the dress and the bride's face in the close-in shots. So, down at flowers, into camera, and out, but in both close-up and full-length—that's the quick six!

Do a Lot With a Little Time: How to Pose a Bride | Vanessa Joy


You'll have a whole toolkit of options that may work for different brides, but here are some of the ones I use that are often hits, resulting in pretty photos. • Have the bride put her flowers to the side and pull her veil out. Experiment with having her pull it around the front, hold it out, curl into it; it adds a focal point and something visually distinct. If you want to slim down arms in the photos, have the details of the veil, like scalloping or lace, land on the arm to slim the look of the arm. Another option is always to have her pull the arm back away from the camera a bit. • For dresses that have some swirl to them, have the bride whip her full skirt around her a few times while you take action shots. While not every motion shot is a winner, many of these will look lovely, like she's dancing the night away. A full turn-and-step can also create some beautiful shots. • Have the bride walk toward you catwalk-style, one foot in front of the other while you take photos. The shift made in the walk sometimes catches a nice moment if she was a little stiff while posed. It's always good to have some shots with her natural smile and some with a little more “bride smile,” so an occasional reminder to smile wide will give you some variety to work with. • With the bride close to you now, have her turn and walk back to where she was standing while you photograph the details of the back of the dress and have her peek back around for a few shots. • Position your bride so that you can take some shots of her in profile. Make sure she holds her hands down at her waist; I sometimes tell her to hold her hands "like she's holding an acorn." Then I have her loop her shoulders back and put her head forward a bit as she looks down in these shots. Once you're taking the profile shots, you can experiment with having her look out forward, to the side, and down, depending on the scenery around you.

Do a Lot With a Little Time: How to Pose a Bride | Vanessa Joy


Remember to take a moment close in to photograph all the details: the dress, the veil, the earrings, the flowers. You can circle around the bride snapping these shots close up. These photos are a good time to focus in on getting a great, crisp shot without having to worry as much about the bride's expression, so she gets a little break from all the smiling too and can loosen up. Then it's time for my favorite photo: inside the veil! With an assistant or carefully by yourself, pull the bride's veil around her head and photograph from inside the veil. Take a few different shots where the bride looks in different directions, pulls parts of the veil in to herself. The asymmetrical elements of the cone of soft fabric around her will make for memorable, whimsical shots.

Do a Lot With a Little Time: How to Pose a Bride | Vanessa Joy


One thing to realize is that different photographers will edit a bridal shoot to play up different aspects. One photographer might get sharp contrasts and bold looks while another may make the photographs look particularly light and airy through their style of editing. One factor is that your portfolio is a big part of why this bride chose you, so editing in line with your past styles could be a good guide. On the other hand, if you have a wide range, figuring out what kinds of looks and styles the bride enjoyed in your portfolio could give you direction as well. My personal tastes in editing a bride's shoot aren't going to be exactly like yours, but by choosing to pose your bride well throughout the shoot and capturing the quick six, you'll have a lot of excellent shots to work from, allowing you to edit the best of the best. You can see my editing tools at I hope you have enjoyed this look inside how I run a quick and effective bridal shoot that still has room for whimsy and play, emphasizing what makes that bride look her best. To learn more about me, subscribe to Vanessa Joy on YouTube to get more information on photography gear, wedding shoots, and so much more!

LEARN MORE . Click here or check us out at

Vanessa Joy has been a professional wedding photographer in New Jersey since 2002, and an influencer in the photographic community for years. Since starting in 2008, she has taught photographers around the globe at almost every major platform in the industry ( Vanessa has been recognized for her talent and business sense at the renowned industry events CreativeLIVE, Clickin’ Moms, WPPI and ShutterFest. Her peers love her informative, open-book style of teaching. website: instagram: @vanessajoy



We love this lavish design! the soft floral print has all the characteristics you need for any setting! It would be great for newborns, maturity, fine art photography and anything in between :)

b i t . l y / 3 x j C rWs ENTER NOW!




40 52 68 80 96

| Lighting Techniques for Weddings with André Brown | Lighting On a Budget with Angela Marklew

| Which Light Modifier Is Right for Your Portrait Shoot? with Brandon Woelfel | Lighting Fundamentals – Improve Your Portraits with Light with David Beckham | Balancing Flash and Ambient for Photographers with John David Pittman | Stories By Light | Lighting Setups That Set You Apart with Karen Bagley | How To Shoot Indoors With Natural Light with Meg Loeks | Colorful Lighting with Gels with Matt Monath | Just a Reflector with Sal Cincotta | Creative Ways to Light Your Images at Night with Benjamin Lane and Sirjana Singh | Creating Impactful Portraits with One Light with Toni Shaw | Inspirations from Our Readers

106 120 132 146 156 176 190

Lighting Techniques for Weddings | André Brown

with André Brown

Lighting Techniques for Weddings | André Brown

We know that weddings can be extremely unpredictable. You can do all of the preparation in the world, but as the famed fighter Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” And I’ve been punched in the mouth enough times (figuratively, of course) to know that I always need a few tried and true methods in my back pocket for those unpredictable moments. With so many moving parts, you have to move quickly, be fluid and be ready for just about anything and everything. The best way I know to do so is by having my go-to lighting setup for each part of the day. This often changes from day to day because no wedding is the same, but having them handy gives me a great baseline to ensure I can deliver a consistent aesthetic that my clients expect.


Window light will always be my first choice for wedding prep. There’s nothing like the soft glow of a large window illuminating your subject. As I start the day, this is my preferred light source to photograph details like shoes, jewelry, stationery, etc. I’ll then move on to the prep process with my subject. I’m typically shooting from the shadow side so that I can get the moody looks that I personally love so much. I also use the curtains to control the amount and direction of the light that comes through the window.

In those instances where you aren’t fortunate enough to have a large window as your light source, you can use off-camera flash to simulate a similar lighting pattern. One way to get this result is by using your top flash, pointing it sideways at a nearby wall. Once you click the shutter the light will bounce off of the wall then back onto your subject in the same manner as the light that comes through the window. Unfortunately, you don’t have curtains to help control the spill of light, so it may take a little trial and error to get it just right. But with a little practice, I trust you’ll be happy with the result. A few years ago, a photographer I follow made a video tutorial where he placed a speed light into an open closet with the light pointed at the back of the closet. Similar to the top flash example, when the flash is triggered, the light will bounce off of the wall and back onto your subject. What I like about the closet method is that you can control the light with how far the door is open or closed the same way you can control window light with curtains.

Lighting Techniques for Weddings | André Brown


For ceremonies, I always go with one of two lighting setups: cross light or flat light. At times it can be a little tricky depending on how elaborate the decor setup is. Ceiling treatments and flower-topped aisle pedestals can project unsightly shadows on your subjects and are difficult to navigate. So the setup I choose to use is largely determined by factors like that.

Cross lighting The first of the two setups is cross light. If you aren’t familiar with cross light, it’s fairly simple. Place one light in the front corner of the room pointed at a 45-degree angle into the center of the room or where your subjects are placed. Then, take a second light and place it in the opposite corner in the back of the room, also pointed 45 degrees toward your subjects. I love the look of cross lights because you get the effect of a main light and kicker. This particular setup will likely produce unwanted shadows with certain decor setups as mentioned earlier, but when you do use it, you’ll love the way it looks.

Flat lighting The second setup is flat light. Flat light is quick and to the point. Two lights on either side of the room face the same direction, pointed 45 degrees inward towards your subject. You can go bare bulb or use umbrellas for softer light. This setup will provide you with even light on all sides so that you have little to no shadows on your subjects. I also use this lighting setup to capture perfectly lit, formal family portraits. Family formals are my second most purchased prints after couples portraits during IPS sessions. They are, however, the most purchased from my clients’ online photo galleries as these are the photos that moms and grandmas will likely purchase. With that in mind, be sure to capture great family portraits to help increase your bottom line.

Lighting Techniques for Weddings | André Brown


This is my go-to set up for portraits:

One AD200 inside of a MagMod Magbox (usually with the focus diffuser) and one AD200 on a Manfrotto nano stand with a MagSphere and MagGrid. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with a similar setup with Westcott FJ200s and the Rapid Box M because I like a larger softbox. But both setups are extremely effective. This setup allows me to move very quickly between standard portraits and creative portraits. Notice the two lights and their modifiers are consistent with my main light and kicker setup discussed earlier. At any time I can scale down to one light and the nano stand provides me with a small light stand for situations where I wish to backlight the subjects for silhouettes.

Lighting Techniques for Weddings | André Brown


My go-to choice for reception lighting is cross lighting as well; however, most ballrooms are typically rather large and I generally always set up four lights, one in each corner of the room, all pointed into the center of the room. Two of those lights, perpendicular to one another, are modified with MagGrids. I have a tendency to use all four lights on occasion, but again, my primary objective is to have cross light, a main light and kicker no matter which way I turn in the room, so as I move around I switch between the groups on my flashes.


Contrary to what I believed when starting out as a wedding photographer, there is no set it and forget it lighting method on a wedding day. Everything is extremely unpredictable so you have to be ready for anything. The best you can do is to have a few tried and true methods so that you can move quickly and ensure that all of your clients’ important moments are well lit. Keep in mind these setups are merely a starting point. You can always fine tune and make adjustments as needed.

Andre Brown is an award-winning wedding photographer based in Atlanta, Georgia. As a former music manager, his passion for creative processes transformed into his love for photography. He is now the lead photographer of Andre Brown Photography, a boutique photography studio specializing in wedding and portrait photography. His work has been featured in several notable publications and has won awards from prestigious organizations including WPPI. Andre is also a speaker, educator and brand ambassador for MagMod and Light and Motion.

website: instagram: @andrebrownphoto

Product Spotlight | Profoto B10 Plus & NEW OCF Softboxes


product spotlight

Professional Headshots with the Profoto B10 Plus & the 3ft Octabox at the Chicago City Library Headshots are in huge demand right now. Why? Well, if I had to guess, more people than ever are working remotely and most companies want more than a glorified selfie for their profiles. Headshots may not be the sexiest thing you add to your portfolio, but they generate revenue for your business and can be fun and challenging for you to sharpen your lighting skills. Recently, we were tagged by CBRE which manages the Chicago City Library. They needed team shots and updated headshots. The catch? SPEED. We had about 1 hour to get set up and shoot 24 headshots and 10 group shots in multiple locations in the building. Makes sense when you think about it, right? This is a government building with employees. Time is money. So, as a company, we can’t have employees sitting around waiting for a picture to be taken. As a photography studio, my job is to ensure I move quickly and efficiently to create well lit professional looking images for the client. Challenge accepted.

Lighting Equipment Used Profoto B10 Plus Profoto 3ft Octa Box Profoto 1ftx4ft Strip Box Profoto A1x w Grid

Camera and Lens Canon EOS R5 Canon 85mm f1.2 Canon 15-35 f2.8

For more information, visit

Lighting On a Budget | Angela Marklew

with Angela Marklew

Lighting On a Budget | Angela Marklew

Photography is an expensive undertaking, whether it’s your hobby or your career. From the hardware (camera and lenses) to the software (Capture One/Lightroom/Photoshop) and all the little things in between, the costs add up. It can then be daunting to think you need to rent a studio and a bunch of expensive lighting gear to create a professional looking set of images (either editorial or commercial).

However, I’ll let you in on a secret… This is simply not the case.

Out of necessity, I’ve become adept at creating beauty images pretty much anywhere (and 95 percent of the time, “anywhere” is not a traditional studio) and on tight budgetary restraints (which are at times self-imposed or due to client limitations), while maintaining a consistent level of quality.


You can shoot amazing images out in the world using natural light. In my opinion, learning to manipulate natural light is one of the most important things a photographer can have in their arsenal. As far as I’m concerned, the sun is my best and most versatile light source. I work with natural light in three primary situations: direct sun, open shade/scrim, and what I call covered shade (more on that in a bit). When shooting in direct sunlight, the thing to keep in mind is the sun is essentially a small, hard light source. This means you’ll need to place your subject in a way to get the most pleasing shadows. I tend to have my subject face the sun and keep their chin slightly raised, as this will help eliminate big shadows under the eyes. When shooting this way, I often try to use the hard shadows to my advantage to create some visual interest. Another advantage to shooting in direct sun is the level of color saturation. Hard light is a go-to of mine when I’m looking to create really bright, punchy images. To create solid colored backdrops, I’ll simply tape a scrap of seamless (or any colored paper) to a wall.

These images were all shot in direct midday light, without the use of any modifiers.

Lighting On a Budget | Angela Marklew

When I want to go for something softer, I look for open shade (the shadow from a tall building, for example). If open shade isn’t available, I’ll use a scrim to diffuse the sunlight instead, by placing it between the sun and my subject. In both cases, shadows will be softer and have more gradation. If I want to increase the level of contrast, and ensure there’s still a little “pop” in my image, I use a reflector to fill in the shadows (if you don’t have a reflector, try a white bed sheet for a softer fill or tin foil for something more specular).

These images were all shot during midday. Some were shot using a scrim to diffuse the sunlight. The others were shot in open shade. In each case, a white reflector was used to fill in the shadows

settings: f5.0 @ 1/160 iso 125

Lighting On a Budget | Angela Marklew

Now for what I refer to as “covered shade.” This is a specific setup that I love using when I want something that falls somewhere between direct sun and open shade. To create this, I simply open my garage (it’s an older building with wooden doors that open upwards, creating an overhang area of shade). I then stop down enough to ensure the background will be a deep and rich black. I have the model stand right at the edge of where the sun meets the shade. To make sure I get catchlights in the model’s eyes (and to fill in shadows under the chin), I hold a gold reflector directly under the model’s face, just out of frame.

settings: f9.0 @ 1/160 iso 125

Lighting On a Budget | Angela Marklew


If you can get your hands on a single strobe and a few key modifiers, you will be able to create beautifully lit images, regardless of the amount of space you have access to. I shoot the majority of my personal work in my living room, a space measuring roughly 6 feet by 9 feet (and since the pandemic, I’ve also shot smaller campaigns in the space). Over time, I’ve figured out a handful of go-to setups that always work and will give you a great jumping off point.


I love the quality of light you can get from a natural light studio, and since I rarely have access to one, I decided to figure out how to create something similar at home. When talking about a natural light studio that has a bank of windows, generally speaking, the most desirable are either north- or south-facing. The light tends to stay more consistent and is softer than light coming through east- or west-facing windows. Basically, you want to create the biggest, softest source possible. It should be big enough to wrap around your subject and soft enough to prevent any unsightly cast shadows on the background.

I’m a huge fan of the translucent panel (this was actually the first modifier I ever purchased), especially for this application. To create my “window,” I hang a 42-inch by 78-inch translucent panel horizontally. I then place my light, which is bounced into a white 36-inch umbrella, behind it. There you have it: a window indoors!

These images were shot in a natural light studio using window light

These images were shot in my living room using the setup described

Lighting On a Budget | Angela Marklew


My go-to beauty set up is a single strobe bounced into a silver umbrella (I use a parabolic umbrella). I typically place the light directly above my head, pointed slightly down or slightly to my right. I use a silver umbrella (as opposed to white) because it provides a more specular highlight on the skin, which is something I love. Depending on the level of shadow intensity I’m looking for, I always have a round reflector on hand to act as fill when needed. With this minimal setup, I can easily and consistently create images that have the look my beauty clients love.

TIP: The one inherent problem with a small space and using a fairly hard light source is that I often get a cast shadow on the backdrop. If I want to eliminate that (without adding any lights or modifiers), I simply change my position so that I’m shooting slightly up at my subject.

Lighting On a Budget | Angela Marklew

Using a strobe equipped with a snoot, I placed my light above, slightly to the side, and pointed down at my subject. To achieve the shadow across her forehead, I held a black card between her and the light until I got the shadow pattern I was looking for.

I placed the light directly to the side of my subject and had him turn towards it. I used a bare head pointed slightly at the background to get both the background lit and create some shadows on the face to sculpt his jaw.

For this image, I placed my strobe, outfitted with a small softbox, at 90 degrees (relative to my position). I had my subject face the light.


Although the majority of my work is clean and bright, I do like to switch it up and play with dramatic lighting every so often. For this, there is much more leeway in terms of the setup and modifiers. The goal is to create shadows, adding drama to the image. My go-to modifiers for dramatic lighting are a snoot (if you don’t have one, simply take black paper and create a cylinder to wrap around the light), and a small softbox.

Born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, I knew from an early age I wanted to be a scientist. Starting my career in environmental chemistry, I ultimately ended up working with explosives for the Canadian government. I quickly realized I was not built for a 9-to-5 and so I sold my house, packed up my things and moved across the continent to try my hand at photography. website: instagram: @angelamarklew

Which Light Modifier Is Right for Your Portrait Shoot? | Brandon Woelfel

with Brandon Woelfel

Which Light Modifier Is Right for Your Portrait Shoot? | Brandon Woelfel

As someone who shoots with any kind of light available tome, I’mpretty resourceful when it comes to incorporating external lighting within my shoots. A lot of my photoshoots are spontaneous, so I don’t like to weigh myself down with heavy gear or props. I often go out with friends to casually shoot, so I love having equipment that is easy to grab and go. I’ve found that most of my favorite images happen when I least expect them, so I always like to be prepared. Throughout the years I’ve experimented with many different light sources, some that have worked for me and others that haven’t. But during this time I’ve most definitely discovered the necessity of incorporating light and color into my work. When I first started photography, I only shot with natural lighting, so I’ve gotten pretty used to managing my time with shooting against the everchanging sun. While I’ve become accustomed to timing my shoots with outdoor lighting, I quickly found that I was not in control of a large portion of my art. Shooting with natural light is always an exciting experience, but now I’ve found ways to enhance my shoots by adding external lighting to both my indoor and outdoor setups. As I began to grow and learn in my field, I realized that I should start controlling the lighting in my shoots instead of letting it control me. While I still often rely on external elements like the weather, location or props, I no longer need to solely rely on the sun for my imagery. I started to experiment with various light sources to see what worked best for me personally. I tried everything from something you’d see in a photography studio to untraditional lights like a glow stick or lantern. I began to narrow down what was appropriate for my specific creative style. Through trial and error I found several ways to externally add light to my photos with an end result that I was much happier with. I began to add light in places it wasn’t before and take risks within the overall composition. My photos soon began to evolve and change as a result of these key decisions I was making.

With the ability to control the brightness, saturation and hue of my lighting, I can really fine-tune the mood of every image. The Lume Cube Panel Pro has allowed me to do just that. This RGB LED light can quickly change colors while maintaining a great source of continuous luminosity. Most of the time I place this light off to the side of my model on a stand, but it also gives me the option to mount it to the hot shoe of my camera. I always bring this light with me, whether I’m out on location or in the studio. It’s super useful for when you need that essential pop of color or subtle ambient glow. I shoot during golden hour constantly, but that sometimes leaves my subject with too much backlight when facing away from the sun, making them appear dark and silhouetted. This continuous light is the perfect solution for adding just a touch of brightness to the foreground of my subject to better enhance the overall frame. The versatility of this small but powerful light allows for an easily concealable source of light or color anywhere. I’ve even used it inside certain props, like a book or small chest, to create a magical look and feel.

Which Light Modifier Is Right for Your Portrait Shoot? | Brandon Woelfel

As someone who does more field photography than studio work, I often shy away from flash as I’m used to working with natural light or additional supplemental light. Using flash in photography added an element that I was completely unfamiliar with. As I began to grow into my career, I wanted to branch out and try new things. When beginning to play around with flash, the Profoto C1 Plus worked perfectly for my needs and allowed me a great introduction into flash photography. It provided a small but powerful flash that still granted me the freedom to keep my concepts and ideas intact. It’s completely portable, which works perfectly for someone like me who is changing shoot locations constantly or needs to pack light. It’s super powerful and I’ve had great success using this tool at night or in dimly lit spaces. I’m so much more comfortable using flash in my work because of this device’s simplicity.

One of my favorite moments in photography is discovering something while I’m out shooting that will brighten up my subject in a cutting-edge way. I often utilize ordinary light sources such as street lights and neon store signs for my shoots at night. While it’s always thrilling to find a neon sign that inspires a photo, I began to feel limited in what I may find. Eventually, I ended up buying my own neon lights to use anywhere with my subjects. It gives a dramatic yet natural glow while also offering my models something interesting to pose with. I’ve discovered that giving models a light or prop to pose with gives the end result picture a more organic and easygoing feeling. Having a personalized neon light is also great because they are completely customizable. You can get a straight neon line, a shape, or you can customize it to say whatever you’d like, which is an awesome statement piece. I love the dimension this additional light source can provide to a location previously lacking narrative and story. Now I have a few different personal neon signs and LED tubes to use interchangeably in my varying shoots. It’s been a great help to have all of these light sources in my inventory.

Which Light Modifier Is Right for Your Portrait Shoot? | Brandon Woelfel

To anyone who is just starting out, or to anyone who mainly shoots in natural light, I’d recommend you start playing around with these unique types of light sources. Even if you’re just moving your personal lighting around at home, you’ll begin to understand the difference it can make. Don’t be afraid to try new things and go seek out light sources you wouldn’t have previously shot with. I still try out new lighting techniques and gear all the time. I’m always adding things to my ever-growing tool box as a freelance photographer. I truly wouldn’t be where I am today if it were not for all of these external light sources I reach for so regularly now.

Brandon Woelfel is a freelance photographer based in New York. Known best for his content on Instagram, Brandon has a specific aesthetic throughout his work that can be identified anywhere. He often incorporates brightly colored hues and neon lighting that provide a result all his own. You

can find his work on Instagram, Twitter and Youtube @brandonwoelfel website: instagram: @brandonwoelfel



Lighting Fundamentals – Improve Your Portraits With Light | David Beckham

with David Beckham

Lighting Fundamentals – Improve Your Portraits With Light | David Beckham

When Ellie asked me to write for the annual “Lighting” issue, she suggested “Lighting Patterns.” My first thought was dark, gloomy closeups with sad people and of course Rembrandt. DOESN’T EVERYONE KNOW THIS STUFF ALREADY! Then I realized that every single workshop I teach on lighting I start with the basics. Albert Pujols would work on fundamentals on his swing year-round. The Ohio Classics softball team I coached would never have won a national championship if we did not spend time on fundamentals every single practice and during warm-up for every game... It’s FUNDAMENTAL that we look at lighting patterns again! We will start with a basic description and lighting setups for short, broad, split, Rembrandt, loop, and my favorite, butterfly. Then we will apply these techniques to different types of studio, outdoor ambient light and OCF lighting. Did you ever see a photo that catches your eye, and you just love it right away? You do not know why you like it; you just do. Chances are it probably had one of the six lighting patterns in it. All six will be using the main light to create the pattern. The direction of the light to the subject is what creates the pattern. In most cases, a model could stand in the same spot and just turn their head and rotate their body to achieve all six patterns. One of the characteristics of all these patterns is that the main light is above their eyes. If you’ve ever heard me teach lighting, you have heard me say, “The best light comes from above.” The simplest way to create a pattern is to use one light. My samples below use one, two, three, even four different lights. All are Godox AD400Pro. There are some pullbacks for them as well. The samples of Jessie were taken in my studio and a few outdoor locations. The ones of Bailey were all taken in a parking garage. Garages are not just a trendy place to shoot; any parking level but the top gives you every kind of light you want from hard, crisp, direct sun to filtered on the edge of the shadows, to perfect ambients for main light and back lighting for use with OCF or LEDs.







Lighting Fundamentals – Improve Your Portraits With Light | David Beckham


The light is positioned above the subject’s eyes so that the light hits the away side of their face. Both eyes need to have catchlights. This makes for a mysterious look in a one-light setup in a dark studio. In the photo where Jessie is by the window, the shadows are way more subtle because the ambient light fills her whole face. But you can still see a brighter short lit side closest to the window. The one with Jessie on the floor has her whole body short lit. The story is in the shadows and just the left side of her is highlighted by the light source. In this case it’s with a 30x42” LumoPro softbox with no scrim or grid pointed thru a 5x7’ Falcon Eyes Scrim. Using the light this way at ½ power, and the camera at ISO 100, f/7.1 at 1/320 SS, gives us a beautiful window light feel. The one with Jessie outside has a wonderful subtle short lit feel. The shadows are soft because the Mola Demi beauty dish is close and the power on the Godox AD300Pro is exceptionally low. The finish is an intimate natural light mood. The last one features Bailey short lit from the ambient light on the north side of the parking garage.

Lighting Fundamentals – Improve Your Portraits With Light | David Beckham


The light is positioned above the subject’s eyes so that the light dominates her face. This is a more direct way to light your subject and typically creates a more positive mood. Like short lighting, both eyes need the catchlight, but eye contact does not need to be at the camera. This means the main light has to be set up slightly in front of the subject at one side or the other. The studio shot is obvious as the shadows on the short side are strong. The one of Jessie in white on the floor uses an AD400Pro and a parabolic octabox. The light is harder and makes the brights brighter and darks darker, but the broad side light is obvious on her face and body. As Jessie looks over her shoulder on the sidewalk body shot, the light is soft and direct. The main is 4 feet away, camera right and is directed at her left cheek. You can see the soft shadows on the short side of her and her face. As Bailey holds her hat and her hair blows back, the strong ambient light is coming from the same direction. The sun is setting through the clouds camera left and creates an excellent soft glow for her fashion shots.

Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52 Page 53 Page 54 Page 55 Page 56 Page 57 Page 58 Page 59 Page 60 Page 61 Page 62 Page 63 Page 64 Page 65 Page 66 Page 67 Page 68 Page 69 Page 70 Page 71 Page 72 Page 73 Page 74 Page 75 Page 76 Page 77 Page 78 Page 79 Page 80 Page 81 Page 82 Page 83 Page 84 Page 85 Page 86 Page 87 Page 88 Page 89 Page 90 Page 91 Page 92 Page 93 Page 94 Page 95 Page 96 Page 97 Page 98 Page 99 Page 100 Page 101 Page 102 Page 103 Page 104 Page 105 Page 106 Page 107 Page 108 Page 109 Page 110 Page 111 Page 112 Page 113 Page 114 Page 115 Page 116 Page 117 Page 118 Page 119 Page 120 Page 121 Page 122 Page 123 Page 124 Page 125 Page 126 Page 127 Page 128 Page 129 Page 130 Page 131 Page 132 Page 133 Page 134 Page 135 Page 136 Page 137 Page 138 Page 139 Page 140 Page 141 Page 142 Page 143 Page 144 Page 145 Page 146 Page 147 Page 148 Page 149 Page 150 Page 151 Page 152 Page 153 Page 154 Page 155 Page 156 Page 157 Page 158 Page 159 Page 160 Page 161 Page 162 Page 163 Page 164 Page 165 Page 166 Page 167 Page 168 Page 169 Page 170 Page 171 Page 172 Page 173 Page 174 Page 175 Page 176 Page 177 Page 178 Page 179 Page 180 Page 181 Page 182 Page 183 Page 184 Page 185 Page 186 Page 187 Page 188 Page 189 Page 190 Page 191 Page 192 Page 193 Page 194 Page 195 Page 196 Page 197 Page 198 Page 199 Page 200

Powered by