top of page

A 2 lights setup with only one flash?

Maybe the setup I use the most and the one you can get the most effective results fast and I can say that it saved my ass in a lot of situations. What I mean by that is that I am a fan of hard light, I love playing with shadows, and being able to get this look in every situation for me is almost vital.

So that's why I have this bad boy with me on almost all my shoots: the infamous broncolor SirosL 800ws! I've been using it with the Beautybox 65 and the 90 x 120 softbox for the past 3 years. 800ws sure is a lot of power, but you can achieve most of the looks I am going to show you with less powerful strobe, especially with all the portraits where you can actually bring your light closer to your model. So let's get started, your first light source will of course be, you guessed it: the sun... So the first thing I do is check where it is, the direction of the light it provides me, and the intensity. 1/ Something I've done early on, a few years back, and that I still do is to use the sun as my hair light or backlight. It all depends on where it is placed, and how high it is in the sky (choose the right time to shoot). You can use your model to block the sun for example (completely or partially), it will create a rim light and make your model stand out. Once your subject is placed, use your flash to expose your model correctly.

Back in 2015, I was already using this technique. Priscilla Del Canto (Strasbourg)

Make your test shots without your flash first, expose for your background and look at what the light does on your model's skin. Do you want a bright hard rim light? or something softer? It's all up to you, test it for yourself! 2/ Another nice way to use the sun is as a sidelight. It can outline your model's body, it can give more definition to an athlete's shape. Depending on the amount of shadows it also gives your shot a more dramatic look. The sun is behind my athlete camera right, and I simply placed my strobe on the opposite side camera left.

Mathilde Andraud (Montpellier)

On this portrait of this Fitness model, I did roughly the same thing.

Jessica Radix (Lyon)

5d mark III 1/2500 F3.5 ISO 125 at 47mm

And closer...

5d mark III 1/2000 F3.5 ISO 100 at 70mm

3/ You can of course switch, depending on what you wish to have control on. You can control your flash... but not the sun!

In this shot of Marlène, my main light is the sun, and I used my flash as a backlight. Marlène Chameroy