Steven Brokaw Photography

Welcome to my portfolio site including photos, my blog, contact information and social media links

High Key Lighting Setup using V-Flats

3 studio monolights, 2 V-Flats & a white wall

3 studio monolights, 2 V-Flats & a white wall

I occasionally use a high key lighting setup for portraits / commercial fashion work.  It offers a clean / very well lit look.  It allows the fashion or subject to stand out against a background. Generally speaking a high key setup is against a white background with the light falling against the background one or two stops brighter than the light on the subject.  

Normally, I would set up one or two studio monolights and blast away at a white background.  I would meter the background to f/11 and my subject metered at f/9.

For a recent test photoshoot I decided to use the setup as shown above.  I just wanted to try something a bit different by putting more light on the  both sides of my model.  This was a test shoot so I wanted to see how it compared to my normal high key setup.

I used 2 V-Flats with the white side facing my model on both sides and propped them against a white wall in my studio.  I positioned 2 400 WS Elinchrom D-Lite 4it lights with 8" reflectors camera R&L with the focal point of the light about 6" away from the V's and about the height of my model.  I used an Elinchrom 1200 Style RX as my key light.  I wanted flatter light so I used a 27" Elinchrom beauty dish with both the internal white reflector and diffuser sock.  I positioned my model in the center of the V-Flats

My camera was set at 1/160 ISO 160.  I metered the key light at f/11 and the side lights at f/13. The goal was to have the lights reflect onto my model and onto the background as well creating the high key effect.  

It worked as planned, but I'm not sure for my style if it's any better than my normal high key setup.  I tried several shots with all 3 lights and then the same setup with just the key light. When using the 3 lights my model was definitely well lit, but a bit flat.  When I used only the key light the depth returned, but I lost the high key effect (although the V-Flats helped keep the background lit).  

Bottomline, if you want an evenly lit high key lighting setup, this is an alternative.  Easy to setup and with the V-Flats you can create striking side lights and light the background at the same time.  

Here are two photos.  Both straight out of camera without post processing.  The only difference between the two is that the shot with 3 lights came out at 5,600 Kelvin where the key light only was 5,400 Kelvin

Jenny with a key light and 2 lights camera R&L shooting into white V-Flats

Jenny with a key light and 2 lights camera R&L shooting into white V-Flats

Jenny photographed with the same V-Flat, high key lighting setup, but with only the key light used.

Jenny photographed with the same V-Flat, high key lighting setup, but with only the key light used.

Out Of Chicago Podcast - Episode 41

Out of Chicago Photography Conference - Model Casting

0