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One-Light Portrait Photography

Lesson 1 of 10

Class Introduction

Dan Brouillette

One-Light Portrait Photography

Dan Brouillette

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Lesson Info

1. Class Introduction


Lesson Info

Class Introduction

We're going to be talking about one-light photography, and my name's Dan Brouillette. I live in Omaha via New York City for a few years, and I'm originally from Iowa, so a lot of different experiences here. A lot of learning about light over the last 15 or so years when I started photography. So I know everybody wants to do lighting. Some people are intimidated by lighting. Other people have been doing lighting for years. And I just wanna bring it all back to that first setup where you have one light. I wanna go over all the different ways you can use one light from harsh light to medium harsh light to very soft light, talk about light positions, and some of the fundamentals and how you can manipulate those fundamentals to your advantage when using one light. Even the image here, this was shot last time I was here at CreativeLive. That was just one light. So I want to talk more about that and the range that you can pull in your photographs by just using one light and the occasional ref...

lector which does not count as a second light, filling a little bit of shadow. Let's jump into it. First, I would like to thank these guys. White House Custom Color, they do all of my printing, portfolios, and the works and then Profoto, they're the suppliers of all these fun lights we get to play with and all the modifiers as well or almost all the modifiers and they make great stuff so I'm a fan of theirs. So the introduction to one light portrait photography. Here's the things we're going to cover. I want to go over the basic fundamentals. I'm a guy that believes in having a strong knowledge of the concept of lighting. Knowing the fundamentals so that way when you're in a situation that's different than your last you can adapt and change by knowing how the lights work from a conceptual level and when you're moving things around and let's say you get to a shoot and it's not exactly what you thought, knowing how to adjust on the fly because you understand how everything works and why it works. We're going to talk a little about that which will lead us into the equipment that I use. I'll go over an equipment list of everything you guys are going to see me use up here today and then everything that's in my kit back home that I take on my shoots when I'm doing one light types of shoots. We'll also cover dramatic looks. So these will be more harsh. Harsh lights with a lot of shadow, a lot of specularity, real hard light. We'll then cover everyday portraits. What I mean by that is kind of your more flattering lights or your more flattering looks that end up looking similar to a window light. Things like that we'll be using large soft sources. So from dramatic looks to more everyday nice soft looks. We'll then go over conclusion of if some ideas I have for how to expand your own knowledge on lighting. How you can you can use one light out in the field on location, things like that. And that will pretty much do it. We're going to have a model in here. We're going to go through about four or five differet set ups quickly just from the hard light set up to alternatives you can to with that, to the medium light, and then moving on to the soft light. And again to throw in the reflector to fill in the shadow, how you don't need a second light even when you think you do because you can do a lot with just a piece of white foam core, (mumbles), anything you have really, a piece of paper if it comes down to it.

Class Description

It's amazing what you can create with just one studio strobe. Editorial and Award-Winning photographer Dan Brouillette shows how to get amazing and different lighting with the simplest of gear. Whether on-location, or in the studio, he'll use one-light in a variety of different ways to create everything from soft and pretty looks to hard, edgy portraits. While taking advantage of a number of different lighting modifiers, and utilizing just one strobe- you'll have a strong studio on the go for your portrait photography. 


Ryan Redmond

I have mixed feelings on this one. I would still recommend it because the theory and explanations are solid and he gave a wide array of examples that show you the incredibly broad spectrum of results you can get with a given light just by changing distance and position. Having that general understanding of the fundamentals will be very useful. I'm a little bummed that he's using thousands of dollars in lighting for something that felt like it was promoted as an introduction or fundamentals class. I am a hobbyist and I am using speedlight and small softbox or umbrella combos that cost under $100, not 500 watt strobes in 60" softboxes or $1500 strobe and beauty dish combos. It would have been nice to see some examples with more basic equipment. I know the concepts will scale with some practice though, so the class was certainly still valuable.

a Creativelive Student

Fantastic little course. I knew a lot of this stuff already but still learned a couple things, too. I love seeing how different photographers explain the same things and Dan was crystal clear and highly effective. Glad I bought this course.


Brilliant course for beginners. Would like to have seen some comparative examples with slightly cheaper gear, but that is for the individual to experiment. The inverse square law theory of light was a great help to me.