Shooting a One Light LED Glamour Portrait

by | Jun 25, 2019

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

As promised in yesterday’s post

It’s been my experience that there are basically two kinds of portrait photographers: The first likes to shoot using “available light” by which they really mean “every light that’s available.” For some shooters, setting up five lights to make a portrait is just getting started.

The second group prefers to use as few light sources as possible because there’s less gear to fiddle with, which translates into more time spent concentrating on making a good portrait of the subject. And isn’t that what making a portrait is all about? Using fewer lights is less expensive for the photographer, reduces setup time and results in less weight to transport on location. But can you make a portrait using just one light? I think so, yes, especially using continuous lighting. Continuous light sources are especially popular with new and aspiring pros because they let you see in real time the lighting effect produced.


For today’s featured portrait, I’m using Fotodiox’s LED-200WA -56 Daylight Studio LED that produces output of 7600 Lux/m or 600 foot-candles and the company claims that this LED studio light produces the equivalent to a 600-Watt incandescent source.

How I made this shot: This low-key portrait of Pam Simpson, made in my in-home studio, demonstrates one of the challenges of one-light portraiture. The Fotodiox LED with a 47-inch softbox is at camera left and an (old style) 42×72-inch Westcott Scrim Jim Reflector with silver fabric is at camera right.

Camera was a Canon EOS 60D with EF-S15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM (at 61mm) with an exposure of 1/60 at f/5.6 and ISO 800. Pam was photographed against a 5×7-ft Savage Black Infinity vinyl background mounted on my failing-apart JTL background stand.

If you enjoyed today’s blog post and would like to treat me to a cup of Earl Grey tea ($2.50), please click here. And if you do, thanks so much.

Pam Simpson is featured on the cover of my book Posing for Portrait & Glamour Photography and in its 159 pages you can see more of her and learn about my posing techniques. For some reason Amazon sometimes displays the preliminary cover photograph, instead of the one at right. New copies of the book are available from for just $17.94, as I write this. The Kindle version is $17.04 for those preferring a digital format.