Sensuous Portraits are Easy with a 1-Light Setup (VIDEO)

While most photographers realize that a bit of supplemental light can make a huge difference in portrait photos, many shooters shy away from the technique because they think expensive gear, complicated skills, and a studio are required to get the job done.

Today we’re going to clear up this misconception, with the quick-and-easy tutorial below. In less than four minutes you’ll learn how to make yourself and a model proud, with nothing more than a single light and an inexpensive backdrop. Best yet, you can accomplish this task in the comfort of your own home.

“I don’t shoot portraits,” you say? That may be true, but sooner or later you will have give portraiture a try, if only to appease a family member or friend. So do yourself a favor by watching this step-by-step video, and you’ll be prepared to get pro-quality results when situation arises.

Nathan Elson is Canadian commercial photographer and instructor. While following along with this behind-the-scenes episode, you’ll be surprised at the simplicity and effectiveness of his one-light method. You’ll also pick up valuable tips on posing, directing a model, and portrait composition.

This demonstration concentrates on emphasizing the sensuous form of pretty model Emily. But as you’ll quickly understand, this method can be used with great success for all types of portrait photos. Elson explains the simple gear required, and you can go even cheaper with a more affordable light and a backdrop you make yourself.

Elson demonstrates how to position the main light and arrive at a correct exposure. The trick is to place the light to the side and slightly behind the subject. That way illumination wraps around the model to emphasize shape, texture, and detail.

After giving this technique a try, you may find yourself becoming a portrait photographer after all. You can discover more helpful tips for improving your technique by visiting Elson’s YouTube channel.

And be sure to check out another helpful tutorial we posted recently, explaining five basic mistakes that reveal you’re a beginner.