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Hard to book a live model due to COVID, so improvising with a plastic skull model I have. Hope to get some humans booked soon though. I tried several different lighting setups, using a large floor-to-ceiling window for a large diffuse light source for a few shots, a white diffuse umbrella, silver reflective umbrella, and tungsten desk lamp as well. I kept my light sources almost always on the left of the camera, but changed the height positions and angles. In the room where I set up the umbrella and tungsten lamp, there was a large sliding door mirror which I’m sure added to the light spread. Will have to experiment in a different room next shoot and see how much this affected the bounced light, though in comparison to the window light it was still more concentrated. Interestingly, I found that I prefer a different amount of light diffusion for different angles, typically, the further to the side of the model, the more diffuse.

Homework: Additional Content

Lighting studies

Light source: window
Distance from camera (centre post of tripod) to front of subject 4”
Subject (skull) height (top of skull) 5’1”
Distance from subject: 6’4.5”
Black backdrop, black surface : f7.1 1/40 iso400 k5050
White backdrop, white surface : f7.1 1/60 iso400 k5050

Light source: homeOffice w umbrella lights, black backdrop
Distance from subject: 4’10”
Studio light 3’5” from camera line-of-sight
Studio light 4’3” from subject

~ 6’ tall
00–20 White umbrella, above, stage left (best at f5.6 1/20 iso800 4950k)
21–28 Silver umbrella, above, stage left (best at f7.1 1/13 iso400 4500k)
~ 3’6” tall
29–34 Silver umbrella, below, stage left (best at f7.1 1/13 iso400 4550k)
35–42 White umbrella, below, stage left (best at ~ f7.1 1/6 )

Studio Light directly above camera, 6’7” tall
43–53 White umbrella, centre, above (best at f6.3 1/4 iso400 4700k)
54–63 Silver umbrella, centre, above (best at f6.3 1/13 iso400 4850k)
Tungsten desk lamp…
64–69 above and behind (best at f7.1 1/13 iso400 3250k)
1’10” from subject
6’2” tall
5’ to camera
70–79 above and in front (best at f7.1 1/5 iso400 3250k)
4’8” from subject
6’ tall
3’5” to camera
80–89 below and in front (best at f5.6 1/4 iso400 3250k)
5’9” from subject (direct line)
5’ from camera (direct line)
3’5” from subject (in same plane)
1’9” from camera (in same plane)
90–99 flash


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Fantastic to see these! Re bounce lights: you can hang a piece of white cloth on opposing side of the light source, that would be an easy one. Smoothness and material matter but it would be a cheap way to experiment further!

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