Portrait lighting setup

I my previous post I showed you a few portraits that I’m still working on and Moritz from Germany asked in his comment if I could share my lighting setups.

I decided to show a specific setup for every single one with a scheme and short explanation.


This is three lights setup… a combination of two strobes and a neon light. Strobe on the right side had a small DIY grid attached and I used it to light up a face. A neon light from above was really dimmed so I set the exposure to match it and then I was adjusting my strobes. If I remember well, back strobe was on a half power and strobe with the grid was on 1/4 of a power.



This one is really simple. One strobe with small grid attached and moved far away from subject so I could light up almost a complete figure but without unwanted spill over the scene.



As well as the previous one, simple one light setup. It was hard to match a color balance between strobe and light bulbs so I had to correct it in post production. I used silver bounce umbrella as a light modifier. Light stand was some two meters away from subject and that is why light is a bit harder.



Also a one light setup. Strobe is hidden behind the door and my idea was to mimic a day light coming from the other room.



Two strobes. Back one is bare bulb (without modifier) and front one had small grid attached. Front strobe was hidden behind supporting beam. This tunnel is a very narrow space so I had to be careful with the strobe power. Front one was on the lowest setting (1/16 of a power) and back one was 1/4 of a power.



This is two lights setup but with combination of window light. Front one with a grid and back one bare bulb.



One light. I tried to boost a window light with it.


zlataThis one is also a one light setup and I think it’s self-explanatory. Cca 45 degrees angle.


I’m using two Vivitar285HV strobes. Those are simple manual strobes with decent power. Triggering it with  old but reliable Elinchrom Skyport radio triggers.

Here are some photos of my small grid that I made from a piece of cardboard and few black straws. 

DIY grid

mounted on a Vivitar285HV

hard fall off

On the last image, strobe was set some 1.5 meters from the wall. 

Off-camera lighting

Recently, I bought a pair of Vivitar 285HV strobes with pair of Elinchrom Skyport Universal receivers with matching transmitter. Because I’m so “smart”, after I made my order at Adorama camera (U.S), I found some interesting information that Elinchrom Skyports are not compatible with my Vivitars (GLUPANEEE, GLUPANEE…). So… disappointed… trying to find some reasonable solution… BINGO… FlashZebra has matching cables… GREAT!!!… but… guy from FZ told me that my  country postal service (Bosnian postal service) is on the list of most unreliable postal services in the world so he can not guarantee that package will come to me (tell me something I don’t know). So… I risked and I ordered a pair. I’m still waiting.

Other part of a story is that I’m not a patient guy and I want to take some pictures with my new equipment right now. So… again… I google it a bit and on Flickr discussions I found a solution for the problem I have. In short… it is necessary to find a 22nF/400V capacitor and solder it somewhere in a cable circuit. I took a Vivitar connector on one end (original cable that comes with strobe) and solder a capacitor on 3.5 mm jack socket and that’s it (many thanks to my friend Vlado Ličanin who did it for me). It is not pretty but it works. Now I can be cool while waiting FlashZebra cables.

elinchrom skyports + vivitars 285HV
elinchrom + vivitar

Here is an quick testing of everything. Model is my great friend Doni who has been patient to pose to me afer a tennis match.