Setting up a simple high key portrait with only a single light
posted Wednesday, January 9, 2019 at 8:00 AM EDT
When shooting portraits with artificial light, more doesn't always mean better when it comes to lights. In fact, you can do a lot with only a single light. In the newest episode of OnSet with Daniel Norton, he shows off how to create a high key portrait using only one light.
A high key portrait generally features lower contrast, a soft transition from shadow areas to lit areas and generally just a lot of soft light. Norton's setup is straightforward, he uses a single light, in this case a Profoto B1X, and he fires it through a six-foot Scrim Jim, which is basically a flat white diffusion panel. You could use something like a white bedsheet, although you must ensure it's clean in color and stretched well so that your light isn't firing through wrinkled fabric. To ensure you have a big light source, you will want to make sure your flash is far enough away from your diffusion panel that the light covers as much of the panel as possible. A big light source is critical for a high key portrait.