The $300 portrait lighting setup

Lighting For The Budget Minded

This is a followup to my previous post about the Interfit Studio Essentials line of equipment. My friend David stopped by for a visit today and I asked him to sit for a quick portrait. For this I used the two light kit that comes with a remote trigger for your camera, two flash heads, two 20x28-inch softboxes, 2 speedrings, 2 light stands, and a carry case. A pretty nice setup for $299.99*. Each light with the softbox attached weighs in at less than 4 lbs, so will be easy to travel with. All I added for this photo session was a gray paper background and a 20x30-inch sheet of white foamcore from the dollar store.

I took about a dozen photos as David and I talked. The last photo turned out very nicely. I thought that the photo would make a great b/w study, so I cleaned up some fly-away hairs in Photoshop and then created the black & white conversion in Lightroom. 

Power to spare
These 200 watt-second lights put out plenty of light for portraits. I had the power level on the main light set to 4.1 (3 stops below maximum power) and was able to work at F/7.1 while still keeping my ISO at 100. The light was about 30 inches from David and pointed across his face (feathered), not pointed directly at him. The accent light from the right rear was dialed down to power level 3.0. At these low power settings the recycle rate on the flash is down to about 1 second. 

A great starting point
These lights use the industry-standard Bowens S-mount to attach modifiers so if down the road you decide to move up to the Honey Badger or S1 lights you can keep using the same speedrings and modifiers. 

How it was lit
Below I have included a diagram of the light setup and the original color image as captured by the camera.

Lighting diagram for David's portrait

Original image, straight out of the camera

*Discount available!

As an Interfit Creative Pro I can offer you a 10% discount on all Interfit Photo products that you purchase directly from the Interfit website by using the code CORNICELLO10 (all caps!) at the end of your checkout process. I will get credit for the referral and may be compensated for purchases made with this code.

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Cheers!
John