In this video, I’ll show you how to use a single overhead light to create dramatic portraits in your small home studio! Hello I’m Gavin Hoey, and you’re watching AdoramaTV brought to you by Adorama the camera store that’s got everything for us photographers. And in this video I’m going to do a portrait shoot with an overhead light source. Well technically it’s going to be a softbox, that’s in front of my model, above my model, and behind my model, to create three different looks. Now having an overhead light source is a very different look and feel to having your softbox off to the side, something I looked at in a previous video, and in a small home studio. It creates a few problems, the main one for me being ceiling height, or lack of it, because this is as high as I can get my softbox. Now that means, I really need my model to be lower down, so they’re gonna be sat down, and probably sat on the floor, so I think the first thing I need to do, is make my floor a bit more interesting, then we’ll set the light. Let’s get a model in, and let’s get shooting. So to help me out today, I’ve got the amazing Sophie. Sophie’s gonna to be the model for this shoot, and as you can see’s she sat down on the floor. Now the floor for this is actually the old decking from my garden, and it should look really nice in this set up. Above Sophie I’ve got an explorer 400 in a fairly large 38 inch softbox, now it’s pointing straight down, and I could adjust this by angling the light around. That would change the shot quite a bit, but for consistency throughout this video, I’m going to leave it always facing straight down, the other thing you’ll notice is that Sophie will be the same distance from the background throughout. So only the light will change position. Now the first position I’ve got it in is a sort of classic position, light in front of Sophie, her head is roughly in line with the back edge of the softbox. I want to work out the the light that’s reaching Sophie, so let’s get my flash meter, and discover what that’s going to be, so when I’m metering the light, I’m always going to point the little dome, towards the light source, which is straight above Sophie like that. I’m getting f/4, that’s perfect, that’s what I want to shoot at, so let’s take a few shots like this, and see how this lighting setup looks. You can start by looking straight ahead of me, and as you can see this works really nicely. Sophie is correctly lit, there’s lovely light on the foreground, but that background is really dark, and that kind of makes sense, because it is the furthest thing from the light source in this shot. So for the second setup, I’m going to move the softbox so before it was in front of Sophie, well now it’s going to move just a little tiny bit, so she is right underneath the center of it. Now that might not look like a big amount of adjustment, but it’ll have a big impact on the shot. Now what’s going to happen? Well now the softbox is a bit closer to the background, so I’m expecting this to get a little bit brighter, but conversely there’s less soft box in front to light Sophie’s face, so maybe a little bit less light there. I’m gonna check the amount of light that’s coming and reaching the top of Sophie’s head by getting my flash meter. I’m not expecting a big change if any, because although we move the light we haven’t necessarily got it any closer, so let’s just come and have a little look here, and sure enough it still reads f/4 so let’s see how this looks. Okay… so looking at the camera… first of all… so looking at these pictures, there’s a lot more contrast on Sophia’s face, and when she’s looking directly at the camera her eyes are in shadow, but the moment she looks up at the light, this works really well, and gives a lovely balance between illumination on the background, and illumination on Sophie. So the final position for the softbox, is going to be even closer to the background, and I’m going to try and line up the front edge of the softbox with the front of Sophia’s face. Now if I go too far and go even closer to the background, no light will get on Sophie’s face, and we’ll have a silhouette which could be a look you’re after, but not what I’m going for today. So I reckon probably around about there is pretty good, so in this position there should be much more light on the background. Very little light, but some on Sophie’s face, it should give her a lot more contrast to the image. It might affect the exposure… it might, let’s get a little meter reading. Now if I meet her from the front here, it’s definitely going to affect the exposure, so I need to be roughly in line with Sophie’s face. Let’s get a meter reading in here, and it still says f/4, so note same exposure, great let’s take some shots like this, and as expected that background is now much brighter, and if Sophie’s looking at the camera, where we can’t really see much detail in her eyes at all, but the minute she looks up at the light, we can see into her eyes, but we have that really high contrast look, with deep shadow and highlights on Sophia’s face. So as you can see, I can get three very different looks simply by moving this softbox closer or further from the background. So let’s try that, we’ll experiment, we’ll do a little bit of a shoot, and see what we come up with. So Sophie are you ready, okay let’s do it, so I think we’ll begin with the lights swung out to the front. Now I’m going to move the softbox, so it’s directly over your head, you can look at the camera. You can look at the light and I think I like this, this is a nice versatile lighting position, and finally light towards the back, this time to get light in your eyes. You have to look at the softbox not the camera overhead. Lighting in a small home studio is a bit more tricky to set up than side lighting but if you can overcome the obstacles, it’s a really great way to light your portraits. Now if you’ve enjoyed this video, don’t forget to leave me a comment below, and if you want to see more videos from myself and the other amazing presenters right here on AdoramaTV click on that subscribe button, and click the bell icon for regular notifications of our new videos. I’m Gavin Hoey. Thanks for watching.