How to create 30 different interview and portrait lighting setups in less than 15 minutes

Dec 6, 2021

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

How to create 30 different interview and portrait lighting setups in less than 15 minutes

Dec 6, 2021

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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While understanding how light actually works is a much more reliable way to figure out how you’re going to light your subject, when you’re just starting out, it helps to rely on some tried and trusted lighting setups and techniques to get you up and running. The more different setups you try, the more you learn to understand how they work, the better you’ll understand light as a whole.

In this video, commercial filmmaker Austen Paul shows thirty different interview lighting setups in under 15 minutes that will give you plenty of options to get you started. And don’t let the “interview” description fool you, these lighting setups are ideal for photographers shooting portraits, too.

Austen covers a number of setups beginning with the very basics of Rembrandt lighting. He talks about the goals of Rembrandt lighting, the look we’re trying to create, and how the light actually creates that look. We then see the evolution of the Rembrandt lighting setup going through a number of different looks to adjust the overall mood and feel of the images.

But that’s not all that Austen shows off in the video. We see various setups that cover broad and short lighting, butterfly lighting, badger lighting, flat lighting, clamshell lighting and more to show how they all present on the subject in different ways. Austen also talks about several different modifiers, how they work and how you can shape the light to make it perform in a way that gives you what you need.

Not every lighting setup is going to work for every subject, but if you’re new to lighting, this round up of different lighting setups will definitely get you off to a good start. And if you’ve never messed with lighting at all before, just pick a couple of them that you like the look of, focus on those, and then experiment with them for yourself by moving the lights up and down, left and right, or turning your subject to a slightly different angle before you shoot.

Do you use any of these lighting setups for your portraits or interviews?

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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