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Simple One Light Setups // the Profoto A1 + Clic Softbox Octa

One light can make all the difference

Often, when photographers think of “flash photography” or alternate light sources, they think dramatic, but sometimes, all we need is some lighting to fill and even out the skin.

Sure, using natural or available light is much easier. What you see is what you get, right? However, there is something to be said for using a single portable light source with a modifier to even out skin tones and create a pleasing catchlight in the eyes. I find that a catchlight can really bring a subject’s eyes to life.

In this portrait of one of my high school seniors, I’m using a very simple setup.


Camera: Canon EOS R5 | Lens: Canon RF85mm F1.2 L USM | Lighting: Profoto A1 | Modifier: Profoto Clic Softbox Octa

The One Light Setup

This setup is SUPER EASY to be mobile with. I use it on wedding days and all my outdoor portrait sessions. It sets up and breaks down in less than 2 seconds.

And the results? Well, for me, I love the way it evens out skin tones and fills in your subject’s eyes to avoid the dreaded raccoon eyes. No one wants those. 🙂

The images you are seeing have had no retouching done. I’ve only adjusted the tonal range because we shoot RAW and those images will always need a little pop.

In my normal workflow, I would 100% take these into Photoshop and do some dodging, burning, and light beauty retouching, but I want you to see what you can expect in your results before any real editing has been done on the images.

Final Images

Settings: f1.2 @ 1/800, ISO 50
Settings: f1.2 @ 1/1000, ISO 50 
Settings: f1.2 @ 1/800, ISO 50 
Settings: f1.2 @ 1/500, ISO 50

So, here is my challenge to you. If you are not doing this or are intimidated by the thought of it, give it a try. You don’t need much power, either. Depending on your gear, you can use manual mode or TTL, which allows your camera metering system to control power.

Experiment with a one light setup on your next shoot and see if you like the results.

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