Two lights are all you need to capture great couple’s portraits. In this video, I’ll be walking through a simple and dramatic portrait lighting setup for some of my favorite looks.
Video: Simple & Dramatic Couple’s Portrait Lighting Setup
For this simple two light set-up, all you’ll need are your camera, couple or models, two standard flashes, grids, and a gel. For an even simpler portrait lighting setup, check out Dramatic Lighting for Hollywood Style Evening Portraits.
Here is the list of gear I’ll be using today.
- Profoto A10 (x2)
- MagMod MagShoe (x2)
- Manfrotto Nanostands
- MagMod Gel & Grid Kit
- Canon EOS R5 Mirrorless Camera
- Canon RF 28-70mm f/2 Lens
The Light Setup
On camera left, I have a Profoto A10 with a grid. This is our primary light. On camera right, I have the other A10 set up with a grid and CTO on a separate channel. This is going to be our rim-light.
All of this is against the backdrop of a beautiful auditorium with fantastic vertical lines.
Posing Our Couple
Next, I brought in my couple, Salome and Chris. This composition is going to be layered, with the person in the background being the focus of the image.
First, I placed Salome in the background and Chris in the foreground. Then, I powered on the flashes. The primary light is set at 1/8 power and the rim-light at 1/16 power.
Next, I switched Salome and Chris without moving the portrait lighting setup.
Capturing a Wide Shot
For our final shot, I placed Salome and Chris together in the center. I simply raised the ISO and powered down the flashes without moving them and got these images.
Compositing an Extreme Wide Shot
I wanted to finish off with a grand shot without the flashes being in the frame. To achieve this, I followed these steps:
- Take the first image with the flashes in the frame. This shot will light your subjects.
- Have an assistant remove the flashes from the frame. Be sure both you and your subjects stay in the same spot.
- Take the plate shot without the flashes in the frame.
- In post-production, use the plate shot to paint in the background without the flashes.
Here is our final edit.
I hope you enjoyed this article/video. Simple and versatile portrait lighting setups can produce beautiful images. This technique becomes particularly useful when working in fast environments. For a full tutorial on lighting, check out the Flash Photography Training Course on SLR Lounge Premium. For more lighting-based presets and retouching tools, be sure to head over to Visual Flow.