More Studio Lighting Setups With One Light

by William Lulow

Here are a few more lighting setups you can create with ONE light. Just remember that using one light creates rather dramatic-looking images.

This one is the EDGE LIGHT:


The lighting diagram is:

EDGE Light Setup

Although the image shows the light coming from the subject’s left side, it can be positioned from the right side as well (as the diagram shows). With the subject facing the camera, this light only lights the EDGE of the subject. If you want to create an interesting effect, just ask your subject to turn in the direction of the light and you would get something like this:


You need to experiment with all these lightings to see what kinds of results you can get, but the basic setup is the same as outlined above.

Here is something else you can do:


By placing the light behind the subject and aiming it toward the background, you create a SILHOUETTE. This lighting can be used in very specific kinds of circumstances such as:


Here, (a concept piece for a movie poster), the light just illuminates a white background and the couple was placed close to it and the camera came in for a tight shot.

Another use of just one light:


This lighting was obtained by first using a small lightbox and placing the light beneath the subject’s face. It is called a MONSTER LIGHT because it produces the same effect as you would get if you held a flashlight under your chin – the kind of light used in some horror films! Still only ONE light!

I can’t overemphasize the need for experimenting with many different positions for using a single light source.