Successful commercial photographer Joel Grimes is known for creating dramatic lighting setups for eye-catching portraits. One of Joel’s go-to setups is soft cross-lighting. Cross-lighting is created by bouncing a large light source off of a large reflector or wall.

To create an ultra-soft version of typical cross-lighting, Joel utilizes a large 7′ Parabolic Umbrella with a diffusion sock to modify his strobe. He aims his light toward a white wall and places his subject against it.

To further soften the light output, Joel brings the umbrella in close to his subject. For more shadows, this large light can be adjusted further away from the model. The model can also be moved closer to, or further away from, the camera for more or less shadows.


Cross-Lighting with Joel Grimes - 2 Cross-Lighting with Joel Grimes - 1


Lighting Gear in Action

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