Glamour Lighting SetupsSubmitted by Michael on Wed, 2011-11-30 20:12

Triangle: simple lighting technique, kickass punchy light

Here’s a pretty simplistic approach for an interesting studio lighting. In a way it is my answer to all those cousins, who told me they are not able to recreate the lighting, which we used for in the lighting sandwich photo shoot. My approach for today’s video was to try out what happens if you leave away all the stuff you might not have to your disposal. What happens if you got just 3 bare speedlights? No lightmodifiers or anything? It’s a very simple lighting technique. Well, see yourself:


Check the lighting setup:


Model: Emily Wei

I wish you good light!
-- Michael

Michael - thanks so much for making this wonderful tutorial videos. They are very inspiring and educational!

Thanks a lot for watching, cousin. I take it as a huge compliment that the tutorials are inspiring for a person as creative as you are.

Glad you are Back Michael! I have been checking your blog daily in hopes you would post some more awesome videos! This one is great I am going to get going on a shoot soon :D Thanks!

Thanks a lot, Joshua. I hope you have a lot of fun on that photoshoot. Take the nice holiday spirit into the shoot and it will be just awesome.

welcome back Michael, thank you for the new video.
Just shows, you dont need all the mega equipment etc to create a great image.



Thank you, cousin Steve. You are right. And I believe no one other than big Hollywood production needs the mega equipment. Even though I have to admit that I do not really dislike to use that sort of stuff (gosh- my English teacher would kill me for that sentence).

Nice to see you back Michael.

LOL - another awesome, hilarious and inspirational video cousin Michael! =) Powerful images - Emily looks like a action super hero! I really appreciate your advice: "try to make some bad ass photos!" With the backlight/rim-edge lighting, the images somehow reminds me of Charlize Theon in AEon Flux, e.g. http://www.cybermage.se/female-protagonists-on-sf-tv-%C3%A6on-flux-on-%C... So yes, I would call that "bad ass"! ;) I still need to see that movie though...

Yet another BAD ASS tutorial. I really liked it. Thanks!


AMichael, awsome video/advice. You are a lighting genius.

I love the videos, they are always packed with good info.Your an inspiration,going to set up my next shoot,and try to use the info in the video

Later Cousin!

Thanks for doing this tutorial, this is great! Simple setup that produces great images!

Where are the 2 speedlights at the back pointed to? The background? Model? Or are they just pointed at each other and letting the 14mm of the light let go everywhere?

Thanks and keep up the good work.

Always love yoyr vids, Just one question the to back lights are they facing each other, or at wall or at back of model. Yes and you are right use what you have improvise!

Great Video! Yes, no excuses. I've been using Alien Bees in the studio and I'm about to go back to speed lights for assignments on location.
Just curious, why are you shooting in sRGB?

Welcome back! Another great tutorial. I shoot manual speedlight flash with triggers - did you meter the background? If you are shooting f11 does that mean that you lit the background to f32 and the front light at f5.6 to give f11 overall? Were the back flashes pointed at each other, angled towards the background, or angled towards Emily? I think some experimentation on my next shoot is in order! I might try shoot through umbrellas pointing towards each other and my lumodi beauty dish on the front flash... or my octobox with grid... Thanks for the inspiration Michael

Thanks Michael, excellent video as usual. It's so great that you love to teach, it is much appreciated I assure you.

Michael - Love it! it's the no BS... Good to see you back at it.

Michael, really glad to see you back. Have missed your wit and charm. :) Your videos are inspiring and I have used them to learn to shoot with speedlights and the available equipment that I have. Thanks again!

Welcome back Michael. Tell us something about your choice of -4 saturation in PictureStyle settings.

Michael. I LOVE what you´re doing with light! By your recommendation I went out and bought the Photixx Odin Radios.( for my 3 580II´s) LOOVE them. It´s taking some practice to learn them...as well as using my flash off camera. Your videos and instruction has made me a much more competent and creative photographer. Thanks to you AND your beautiful and talented wife.


This was really good. So many excuses went away so i might just do what you suggest, and book a foto weekend

Glad you are back with inspirational easy to understand videos. Look forward to more. Thanks

Great motivating lesson. Well done.

good new idea, thx for sharing it Mike...i'll try this kind of set-up. danke
p.s: where hv u been cousin? :)


Thanks for all the inspiring videos, and the kick in the pants to get out and start shooting!

I was wondering if you had any ideas for a lighting setup for taking photos of a model in a bathtub...

Thanks again!


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

Hey fellow photographer how is it going? I’m Michael Zelbel. The first thing I have to tell you today is a warning. I have got to warn you: This video - it might piss you off. I am here with Cousin Emily. What we will try to do is to rip away your excuses for not doing the one or the other photo shoot.


The reason why we came up with this is that a while ago, I showed you a video with cousin Sasha where we took photos of her in a pretty big studio. We over exposed the background with a bunch of umbrellas and speed lights and under exposed the model. The people seemed to like this photos but they keep telling me excuses why they don’t do that sort of photo shoots themselves. I mean I am doing these videos so that you can recreate these photo shoots and that you do it but it seems like my fellow photographers, they are sticking their head into the sand. They give me lame excuses like


• I don’t have such a model,
• I don’t have so many umbrellas like you need for that,
• over here we don’t have such a big studio like you had or
• I just don’t know any TV actress with sixpack abs who can jump like James Bond. Or
• I think that stuff is working in a black and white only, and you know I am more into color.


I mean cousins all of that is nothing more than BS! What you need to do is take what you have to your disposal and organize your next photo shoot, let us say for next Saturday - that is all it takes.


What we will try in this video is we want to see what happens if we make a really, really, really stripped down version of photo shoot.


So what we did is we used our tiny studio. We have a tiny 9 feet, a white paper backdrop. Actually we simply could have used a white wall, a white wall but we used a backdrop. We have set up three speed lights without any light modifies, without umbrellas, just bare speed lights. I simply asked my wife to model. I will not convert the stuff into black and white, I just leave it in color and see what the outcome is. I won’t ask her to jump like James Bond, no! I will ask her to stand around, you know as if she would be bored to tears – just stand around boring . Let’s see what the outcome is. I mean are the photos bad or are they bad ass? I mean I leave it up to you to decide but if you think they are cool, keep on watching because I will quickly explain the lighting set up.


So we have this white backdrop and the model is standing in the middle. We have got the three speed lights around the model. There are 2 speed lights in the back, one in the front there. They are arranged as a sort of triangle. The two back speed lights are in group B, B like “back“ and the front speed light, it is A. When we have a look at the flash settings it is on TTL case and the ratio A to B is 1 to 8 which means pretty much all the light is coming from the background. 8 parts of the lights from the background and only one part of the light from the front. So very little exposure from the front and I want you to notice that the background speed lights are zoomed back to 14 millimeters. I pulled out this diffuser wide angle of flap so that is the light of those speed lights just scatters everywhere; it goes into the background and it goes into the back of the model, it is just everywhere but it doesn’t hit the model too hard or something.


The camera settings are pretty straight forward. It is 200/s, f11. I dialed up the ISO to ISO400 just to make the speed lights not working too hard.


So take this set up and if there is anything, anything that you cannot borrow by simply asking your facebook buddy or someone, then replace it with something else. Or you know go without it. But in any case, schedule your next photo shoot and try to make some bad ass photos. Yeah I mean if I look at that photo, I would say, stretch it, Cousin! Yes, try to push the envelope, what are you waiting for?


Let me know if that resonates with you. Let me know if you need this little kick, please put a comment under this video and please come back next Thursday for the next video and until then I wish you a lot of fun with your photo shoots and I wish you good light.

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