Glamour Lighting SetupsSubmitted by Michael on Thu, 2012-05-17 11:37

Onelight clamshell lighting setup

One of the current trends in lighting: The strong comeback of clamshell lighting for fashion, beauty and just about anything.

Does this mean you need to take a trip to the seaside and pick up some clamshells? Not at all. It just means you should power up your one speedlight, open up your shoot through umbrella and a reflector and then head over to the video and click play to watch it.



The lighting diagram of the clamshell light is like this:

Online lightingsetup for clamshell lighting
Clamshell lighting with just one speedlight


Model: Fredau Hoekstra
Styling: Emily Wei
Photography: Michael Zelbel
Postproduction: Renzy Memije
Graphic Design: Alex Zlatev

I wish you good light!
-- Michael


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

Hey fellow photographer, how's it going?

I'm Michael Zelbel.

Today I would like to show you a onelight setup.

A set up with just one speedlight

and it will look like you used many more lights

and you are shooting in a very posh studio.

but you actually don't.

Now what we are going to have a look at today is

a classic clamshell lighting.

This clamshell light makes for a look which a lot of people really love

and currently it's getting very very popular again in all sorts of magazines.

So typically this is done with three to four light sources

when you are shooting professionally in a studio.

But we will use just exactly one and it will look just as fine.

Our subject today model Fredau.

And she is ideal for that.

She is not only looking stunningly beautiful,

but she is also someone who is pretty skinny, very skinny

and she has got strong facial features.

And that is ideal for us to demonstrate

the quality of this particular lighting set up.

Because one of the qualities is,

that you do not have a lot of fall off to the sides

and to the back over here.

So if you have a model at a 45 degree angle

you see the nose is correctly exposed

while the ear and the hair which are much more in the background

and much more way off to the side, they are still correctly exposed.

There is no big fall off which

basically means you can shoot models in

strange poses and strange angles.

You can shoot models with interesting facial features,

and you don't end up with ugly shadows,

like an ugly nose shadow or anything.

It's a very good and flexible sort of lighting set up

and at the same time it's still three dimensional.

Now if you have a look underneath her chin and over here at the cheek

there are some sorts of shadows.

So it does cause a dimension, it does read.

And over here you've got highlights on the nose

but it's all so subtle that, you know, its just beautiful.

It will never destract no matter what pose she is going into.

I see over here is a reflection on her hair

that is just awesome.

So let's dive into it, let's have a look on how it is actually done.

So we have a white wall in the background

and it doesn't need to be a nice wall.

In our case we just used a wall

which was roughly painted white,

there is a lot of cracks in there and there is no wall paper.

But it really doesn't matter.

The model is standing in front of the wall

and the main light is coming through a big

shoot through umbrella above just front above model.

It's pointing towards her face at 45 degrees.

And as a light source I used a speedlight

with guide number 58 on one quarter of its power.

The fill light is coming from a silver reflector,

Silver, because I want to have a lot of fill.

As much fill as possible. The reflector is roughly at 45 degrees

pointing towards her face.

And the angle of this reflector will determine

how much or not so much fill light we actually have.

So it's worth experimenting a bit.

In my case I had the light stand over here

and the reflector was on the lower end

laying on the table.

And the upper end was leaning against the light stand

so that it kept staying in this angle.

The camera is shooting through the crack between

the umbrella and the reflector.

My camera was set to ISO 320.

The ISO is a bit higher,

because I didn't want to stress this one single speed light too much,

which is delivering all the light for the scene.

And f/8 to have a little bit of sharpness

to show you really how the light is behaving

in and around her face.

The distances are very small

so this is a set up which fits into a very tiny small space

as a model is just 3 feet away from the wall

and the main light is just at 7 feet hight,

on a seven feet light stand.

That is pretty compact and it is really good.

One quality is for instance that you don't need

the extra light for the wall.

Of course there are shadows happening

because there's one strong main light and that is sitting on the subject

and she is throwing shadows.

But shadows are below, they are going down.

They are not really attached to her body.

So it's always looking great, alrighty.

So that's it for today.

I hope you will have fun with this lighting set up.

Try it out. Click the light button and also the plus one button on this video

come back next time.

I wish you a lot of fun with this particular lighting set up.

I wish you good light.

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