Glamour Lighting SetupsSubmitted by Michael on Thu, 2012-01-05 11:44

DIY high key lighting room

Say you want to shoot spectacular, charming lingerie photos with high key lighting. You want a lighting setup which is bathing your hot model in ultra soft light. Then what would be better than a huge white studio with some giant 6 feet softboxes and 20000 WS of studio strobes? What would be better? Well, a tiny little stock room and two speedlights. Yes cousin, I really mean BETTER.

Have a look:


Here’s the lighting setup with camera settings for this tutorial:

Lighting diagram for high key lighting in small rooms
High key lighting in a small room


Now please go and give your garage a new white paint!

I wish you good light!
-- Michael



I published a variation of this setup in Good Light! Magazine Issue 01. Enjoy!


Hard to get my thick German accent? Here's the transcript!

Hey fellow photographer! How's it going? I'm Michael Zelbel.

Today I will show you how you can use two speedlights
in order to turn a tiny white room into something like
a huge, posh studio for high key photography.
I'll show you a high key lighting setup which
you can use for lingerie photos - for instance.

Our model will be Cousin Coco.
She'll be posing in such a tiny, white room
and she will be wearing lingerie.

We'll use our little speelights in a way so that it looks like
we are bathing Cousin Coco in a whole lot of
bright, soft, charming light - it's just wonderful.

You might have seen some of this shooting scenes
in a former video of mine.
In that video I was talking about the Odin radio flash trigger
and yes, a lot of you liked the Odin radio trigger
but even more of you would love to know the
actual lighting setup that we used for this shoot.

So today I will explain the lighting setup.
So this video will be a simple high key photography
tutorial for speedlights, so to speak.
I'll basically show you how to blow out your
highlights in the background and
depending on the style of photos you are shooting,
you may or may not want to blow out the hightlights
in your background, but in any case, you always
need to control it.
So, pay attention and learn the basics.

Our location, as I said, is an ugly, tiny, little white room.
This room is basically a shoe cabinet at our home.
This is where Cousin Emily stores her shoes.
She got quite a lot of shoes, but still,
the room itself is very small.

Let's have a look at the details in the lighting setup.
The room is 1.80m wide and 2.80m long. That's not very big.
Over here at the side there is one white shoe cabinet.
We painted the whole room simply white,
also the ceiling is white.

We will place the model somewhere on that side
next to the shoe cabinet.
A speedlight is behind the model, standing on the ground.
It's firing towards the back wall, I would say.
Another speedlight is standing on the shoe cabinet.
It's at a height of 1.80m or at a height of 6 feet.
It's also firing towards the back side of that room.
They are booth zoomed back to 24mm,
so that light goes everywhere.
They are both speedlights with guide number 58,
and the are on 1/4th of their power.

We could have gotten away with one speedlight over here,
we just would need to set it to 1/2 of it's power,
and would have probably put it onto a lightstand,
so that it shoots into the middle of that back wall.

What happens now is: light is bouncing off all the walls.
That is why the light is so soft. It's coming from everywhere.
It's bouncing against the ceiling, against the walls.
There is also some light bouncing from this little wall,
this front wall, back towards the model, into her face and front.

But for me, for my taste, this was not enough light.
I wanted to have a bit more punch, a bit more, you know,
I wanted to have the model a little bit brighter,
that is why I added a third speedlight,
which is shooting from outside the room
into the room towards the model.
It's zoomed to 80mm, a small cone of light,
directly pointing at the model.
We don't need a lot of light.
It's dialed back to 1/16th of its power, that is enough.
Alright, that's already the lighting setup.

Probably, a little trick: On the back door, there's a door knob.
which would usually show up in the photograph, because it's dark.
I did cover it with a little towel, a little white towel,
because - remember - I wanted to burn out the background
anyway, so the towel would not show in the photo.

That's it. Easy to do. So I would ask you to
find a little white room. Clean up your store room.
Paint your garage white. Setup a white tent in your garden.
Or just use some bedsheets and lightstands to
build a little white room.
It doesn't need to be perfect, it just needs to be white.

Shoot some posh photos. Make a model happy.
Do something for her sedcard and
shoot some posh photos for your portfolio.
In any case, try it out. Give it a try.
Let me know how it's working for you.
Drop some comments under this video.
Click the like button. Click the +1 button.
And please, please come back next Thursday for the next episode.

Alrighty! Like always I wish you good light!

Subscribe here and don't miss any video!

Simply subscribe to "Photo Talk" and be the first one to receive a notification whenever a new video is added here. No spam. Every eMail features an unsubscribe link in it's footer in case you don't want notifications anymore.