Photography Project: “Square” Portrait Lighting


One area I would like to get better at this year is taking portraits (much to Peter’s chagrin, because he knows he will have to be my subject….although he has been talking lately of buying a dummy/mannequin that I can use as my model…then the neighbors might really think we’ve lost it).  I subscribe to Kelby Training and really liked the lighting and expressions that Peter Hurley captured in his video class.  So I thought I would improvise, and create the “poor woman’s” version .

I believe Peter H. uses square lighting with a sophisticated lighting system.  So I decided to search around on “google” and see if there were some tips for a do-it-yourself version.  I found a youtube video (I love Youtube for learning new techniques).  Here is a photo of what we created using cheap beginner studio lights


  • Two continuous lights on either side
  • One off-camera flash set as far overhead as we could get it
  • A simple light in back lighting the background
  • A reflector on the model’s lap or the floor to bounce light back.

I was pleased with the results – I had great models.  Next month I am going to work on “window lighting” portraits – something that continues to challenge me.

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