Lighting Set UP BTS: Nathan Graham Boxer

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: May 17, 2016

Category: Photography

Following on from yesterday’s post, as promised here’s a run through of the lighting set up for my recent picture of UK based Boxer, Nathan Graham…


Ok so rather than being in a studio, the photo shoot took place in Pegasus Gym, Aylesbury once all the training sessions had finished.

Set up was real simple using a single light source; that being my favourite of all light modifiers the Elinchrom Rotalux 135cm Octa and ELC 1000, and for the background I used a roll of grey seamless paper.

Using grey paper as a background for this particular kind of picture works a treat. When you add texture to it during post production you can very easily give it the kind of look you get from a painted canvas background similar to those made by Oliphant that folks such as Annie Leibovitz regularly use; this method though is a whole lot cheaper. I’m going to be trying out one of the pop up backgrounds from Lastolite a run soon that has a similar look too so I’ll keep you posted with that.


I’ve added a lighting diagram a little further down but just from the pictures above you can pretty much see how the set up looked, and then below you can see where Nathan was sitting (although on a different seat). You can just about see the bottom of the Octa in the top right of the picture, positioned so that the feathered edge is all that lit Nathan…


Also in front of Nathan I placed a silver California Sunbounce reflector to add some fill light due to Nathan wearing a dark suit and me not wanting to have a picture with deep shadows.


In the lighting diagram above you can get an idea of where Nathan was in relation to the Octa. The position added exactly the light I was after but also cast a bit of light onto the background giving it much more interest as opposed to being one continuos boring tone.

As for the camera and lens combo I was using my Canon 5D MKIII and opted for the 70-200mm f/2.8 ISII so that I was able to zoom in on Nathan and pretty much exclude the kit that was close in around him.

This just meant that during the retouching side of things I extended the background either side of him before adding the texture to alter the composition.

Oh and as for the retouching this was done in Capture One and Photoshop. I’ve been using Capture One a little more lately; not because I prefer it to Lightroom, but rather because I find I’m able to manipulate shadows and colour with much more control.


As always if you have any questions, please feel free to make use of the comments section below but in the mean time, if you haven’t already then be sure to check out the LARGE version of this picture over on my 500px portfolio page by CLICKING HERE


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  1. Peter Rooney

    Thanks again for sharing Glyn, would love to see the RAW image

  2. Deacon Blues

    Thanks, this looks great, but can you share more on the post processing please? I’d love to see a comparison of OOC and final shot 🙂

  3. Pesch Man

    Great picture! Also would like to know a bit more on post processing, I really like the mood in this photo!

  4. Brian Worley

    Great shot mate, but Nathan’s “chair” in the final picture sure looks a lot like a peli-case 🙂

  5. David Green

    Love this Glyn – do you think a Westcott 7′ Parabolic would be a suitable substitute or is there anything about the Octa that you think creates a better quality of light? Also, do you do any on-line post-production tutorials on colour grading / adding texture etc?

    Many thanks,


    • Glyn

      Hi David
      To be honest I’ve not used the parabolic but I think it may be a little big for this kind of shot. I’m a big fan of the Octa (the deep octa now). Hard to explain why but there is a distinct difference so I’ll be doing a video to show it…picture / video paints a thousand words huh 🙂

      As for post processing, the ROSA tutorial I recently released covers all of that; its in my store/shop with an overview video.

      Hope it helps

  6. David Green

    Erm – think I may just have answered my own re-touching question by looking at your Shop page! Which would you recommend to work towards the look you’ve created here?

    Thanks again


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