Lighting Explained: Physique Couple Silhouette

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: June 2, 2016

Category: Photography

Ok so as promised here’s a quick look at the studio and lighting set up for the picture I shared yesterday of the Physique Couple Silhouette…


Now I say quick, not because I’m going to purposely keep this brief, but because it’s so incredibly simple, so here goes…


The whole set up was using just one Elinchrom Rotalux 175cm Octa and having James and Claire stand directly in front of it…and that’s it.

As for taking the photographs, I get James and Claire to stand about 60cm  in front of the Octa and meter them at f/8.0. Once the light has been metered I then take it up an extra stop so that the background is nice and white but doesn’t go nuclear and blow out any detail and so make it look as though they have crispy hair 🙂

Once the light is locked in, I then get them to move in closer and move further away from the Octa depending on the look I’m after i.e. the closer they are the more the light wraps around them looking like strip lights were also used from either side.

Once in Photoshop, so long as your subjects have a white surround we can then use the Crop Tool to extend the canvas area and then fill with white to give the impression of a larger background, and also alter the composition. In the out of camera shot below I’d moved over to the right to photograph James and Claire from a different angle which worked out much better but of course made it look like they weren’t positioned centrally with the Octa. On that note, no matter what set up you have ALWATS make a point of leaving the lights as they are and moving around taking photographs from different angles and perspectives; it’s amazing the difference it makes and the results you can get.


Don’t have an Octa? Well a large umbrella (60″ or so) will do virtually the same. You may find that the further from the centre of the umbrella the light goes, you may notice some of the umbrella framework showing up but that can be easily painted out with a white brush. In fact, any modifier will do, so long as you have an area of white around your subjects that you can work with in Photoshop.


Hope you find that useful, but as always if you have any questions/comments then feel free to make use of the comments section below.

In the mean time though, CLICK HERE to see a LARGE version of this Physique Couple picture over on my 500px portfolio page; hope you ‘like’ it 🙂


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