There are numerous setups you can create with just one light and take stunning portrait photos. Well, unless you’re in this unilluminable room. But if you add a sheet of Plexiglas and some water to the equation, the possibilities for creative portraits largely expand.
In this video from Adorama, Pye Jirsa shares a simple setup that will get you tons of creative studio portraits. With just one strobe, some Plexi, and a spray bottle, he builds up the set to show you how to take interesting foreground bokeh portraits.
For his shoot, Pye uses a Canon EOR R5 and a 28-70mm lens to cover different focal lengths and different portrait styles. Of course, you can use whatever you’ve got, even your cellphone. The trick is to put a sheet of Plexiglas between your model and the camera and spray it with a bit of water. As for the light, Pye set it so that it bounces off the wall and the backdrop. It lights the background and one side of the frame more, but some of it bounces back to the model and lights the water droplets. I suggest you play with it based on your shooting space until you get the result you’re pleased with.
From here, there are plenty of creative shots you can get. You can get all the way into the Plexi and have your model step further back. Shoot through the little “openings” between the water droplets and use larger apertures like f/4 or f/3.2, although a small aperture can give you an interesting look, too. You can also have the model come closer to the Plexi with you stepping back, making the portraits look as if they were shot through a window in the rain. Or both you and the model can step back and you only capture their silhouette, focusing on the droplets. There are plenty of possibilities.
Once you’re done shooting, don’t forget to wipe your Plexi off with a soft cloth. Put it away covered with fabric or bubble wrap so that it doesn’t get scratched. This way you’ll preserve it and use it for many future shoots and many more creative ideas you may have.