Keep scrolling to see the gear and settings used for this shot.

Using three lights makes me feel like a pro

I'm not sure about you guys, but I feel like the more lights I own/effectively use the closer I get to the big leagues. Of course, i know that's not the case and no amount of lights will make me a better photographer unless I learn to use them effectively. Anyway, here are a couple of variations using a three light set up that I love to work with.



In the photograph I have my key light set up Rembrandt style (refer to my studio starter kit post) on the heavy duty light stand and with the parabolic softbox. I have two more lights behind my model aiming in toward her with the 24" x 24" softbox and grid lighting her hair, back and shoulder. This is to provide some separation between my model and the background. My key light is the godox AD200 and the other lights are the budget speedlights I have for events.



In the first photograph below I have the AD200 with the same modifier as my key light set rembrandt style again and I have both speedlights set behind her again, only this is that I aimed one toward the backdrop to make sure it is white. It results in a more high key look.

While the lights power output is important to note, I do want to point out that each situation will vary slightly. Anyway, In the photo above I had the Canon M50 with an EF 50mm f/1.8. The settings were f/8, 1/160 and ISO 100 with the key light set to 1/8 power and both rim lights set at 1/4 power. I had my Canon EOS R with the RF 24-105 f/4-7.1 for the shot below. The settings were f8, 1/200 and ISO 100. For my key light, which is the AD200, I had it set to 1/4 power, the speedlights on the hair and back of my model was set to 1/2 power and the speedlight aimed at the background was at full power. It may seem like I set my key light to output less light than the others but that's not the case. The AD200 is much more powerful than the budget speedlights so I had to adjust my lighting accordingly. The setup would be much different if I used an AD200 for all three lights. None the less, this is a good starting point for you if you wish to try it out


What you'll need:


How to use it:

Step one is to set your lights up according to one of my diagrams, or any other set up that you would like to try.


Step two is to get your model posed and your composition set.


Step three might be the most undermined step when working with multiple lights. That step is to build your photograph one light at a time. So for instance, in the first photograph below I framed my shot and posed my model. Once I placed the light for the background I fired off a test shot with only that light on and I dialed in the settings until the background looked the way I wanted. After that I turned that light off and then set her hair light and then took a test shot with only that light firing so that I could dial in the power to expose the hair and shoulder to my liking. Finally I turned both the background and hair light off and took a test shot with only my key light firing. When I had the key light set the way I liked I turned on all three lights and then got to work!


Camera Settings:

In the photograph above:

Camera: Canon EOS M50

SS: 1/160

Aperture: f/8

ISO: 100

Key light: Godox AD200 @ 1/8 power

Hair light, camera left: Godox tt520ii @ 1/4 power

Hair light, camera right: Godox tt520ii @ 1/4 power

In the photograph below:

Camera: Canon EOS R

SS: 1/200

Aperture: f/8

ISO: 100

Strobe: Godox AD200 @ 1/4 power

Background light: Godox tt520ii @ 1/1 power

Hair light, camera right: Godox tt520ii @ 1/2 power

More Examples

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