Joel Grimes, a Westcott Top Pro Elite portrait photographer, creates a stunning overhead beauty shot in this lighting tutorial. Here, he discusses light positioning and how to capture both minimal and dramatic shadows by simply raising and lowering a single light source.

Joel first begins this portrait session with just a single light source centered toward his model. This light source, a strobe modified by a Rapid Box Octa-L, is sitting directly on his camera.

Joel Grimes - Light Placement Final 2

Without Reflector

Joel then adds a white Illuminator Reflector to bounce light from below his model’s face. This acts as a fill light and helps to eliminate harsh shadows. This simple addition makes his subject’s face glow on-camera.

Joel Grimes - Light Placement Final 4

With Reflector

If slight shadows are desired below the eyes, nose, lips, and chin of the subject, the light can be raised by 6″.

Joel Grimes - Light Placement Final 6

With Reflector – Light 6″ Above Camera

If more dramatic shadows are desired, then raising the light source by 12″ will add harsher shadows on the subject’s face.

Joel Grimes - Light Placement Final 5

With Reflector – Light 12″ Above Camera

The Rapid Box Octa-L was designed for use with strobes and continuous lighting. This large modifier is manufactured with the same quality materials as the smaller speedlite Rapid Box versions, but with a built-in speedring for nearly all mounting types. This includes a durable, yet lightweight umbrella-style frame. This innovative frame allows for instant setup and teardown both in-studio and on-location. The Rapid Box Octa-L is also constructed with a highly reflective silver interior that maximizes light output.

Joel Grimes - Light Placement Final 8

Joel Grimes - Lydia in Red Final

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