The Basics of a One Light Setup

Here’s a short video from Jay P. Morgan (of The Slanted Lens) on using a one light setup. Interestingly, he is shooting a model with a Canon 1D C with 4K video and pulling stills from the video frames. While he was shooting video in this session, the same lighting principles apply to still photography and strobes.

Here’s the gear he featured in the video.

The interesting thing about the Dynalite setup is that he’s using the modeling light from a studio strobe as his key light. However, the MH2065 head accepts up to 650w modeling lamps, which is more the sufficient for coverage at the distance to subject he’s working with. And, as he mentions, he can use all of his strobe modifiers on the Dynalite head – something that he wouldn’t be able to do if he pulled in a 1K ARRI or the like.

What I don’t understand is the need to use 1/50s shutter speed unless he’s holding onto the video as well. If the shoot is solely for stills, it shouldn’t matter what shutter speed you choose. With the 1D C’s low light performance, it should be able handle bumping the ISO up a couple more stops with a 650w key that close (at least, in exchange for unacceptable motion blur). If not, then we need a bigger light… He recognizes the motion blur issues in the recap, and maybe he was shooting video for delivery as well. I just wanted to note this observation for anyone else who was scratching their head on that one.