How to make 3 point portrait lighting setup on a budget

May 8, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

How to make 3 point portrait lighting setup on a budget

May 8, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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If you are not a professional and don’t own your own studio, taking portraits (or self-portraits) at home is something you’ll most likely do. The Lighting Channel has already presented us with a short and fun video where they suggest ten ways of lighting yourself. In this one, you’ll get a great idea how to create a classic 3 point lighting setup on the cheap. You probably even have some of these items at home if you’re into DIY stuff. Even if not, they’re easily available and you can get them all for the total of $25-30.

YouTube video

You will need

The setup

Place the China ball on the light stand. It will be your key light and you should put it on one side of the model. Turn the light on and cover the back of the China ball to block spills. As for the light stand, I must say I was impressed by the level of DIY The Lighting Channel used for this video. They gave you an idea, and you can improvise or use some of the ideas from our blog.

Then, use the Styrofoam board on the opposite side of the key light. It will reflect some of the light and fill in the shadows, but keep the light from being flat.

Lastly, place the painter’s lamp behind the model to be your backlight. It will help separate the model from the background and give depth to the portrait.

And that’s pretty much it. How much light you will use and where exactly you will place it are matters of your creative choice. You can experiment with the angles and intensity of the light, but these three sources are the components of the standard 3 point lighting. Or as they say in the description, it’s more like 2.5 point, since one source is actually a reflector. Either way, I think this is a great idea for self-portraits or photographing your family members at home. It’s cheap, all the pieces are easy to get, and projects like this are certainly a lot of fun.

[How To: Portrait Lighting | The Lighting Channel]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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2 responses to “How to make 3 point portrait lighting setup on a budget”

  1. dimitrisservis Avatar
    dimitrisservis

    Looks terrible especially his left side…

  2. Nikolay Mirchev Avatar
    Nikolay Mirchev

    Almost Rembrandt lighting pattern achieved here. I would say the result is good, for the tools being used here – I think I may give it a goo and shoot some cool portrait, as can be seeing on my folio
    mirchevphotography.com/gallery/creative-portrait-photography/