Portrait Lighting On $100

$100 portrait lighting kit

My $100 portrait lighting kit

In the last few months I’ve covered basic three point lighting and five point lighting but what about those of you who can’t afford to lay out that kind of cash for gear or don’t have enough space for a studio?

I decided to put together a portrait lighting package that anyone with $100 to spare can afford and one that you can use anywhere; studio, outdoors, living room, where ever you want to shoot a portrait. I’ve already covered a $250 portable lighting kit that does a pretty decent job, but I decided to unleash my inner cheapskate and see how low I could go and still get a portrait I’d feel good about charging regular portrait rates.

The portability leaves out any kind of light that requires an electric socket and there wasn’t even enough room in the budget for a sync for the flash. Talk about a challenge!

Here’s the solution I came up with and the rig. Any flash that has a slave mode can be triggered by the on-camera flash. But many times the built-in flash will completely overpower the lighting. To work around that I put my Canon 7D in Program mode and cranked the flash power down by -2 2/3. That was still strong enough to trigger the slave but not bright enough to add anything to the photo beyond a small amount of fill.

Here’s my kit:

Yongnuo YN-467 $76.65 which I had leftover from the $250 portable lighting rig challenge.

Neewer Translucent White Umbrella for $7.07. This model is translucent and you can shoot through it or bounce the flash off the inside. I decided to shoot through.

Flash Shoe Holder for $7.65. You can hand hold this unit or mount it on a light stand or even a wooden dowel if that’s all you have.

model photo one

The post-processing was done in Corel's AfterShot Pro and the results are fabulous

That comes to $91.67, not counting shipping and handling. Now I didn’t have an assistant, so I used one of my flash stands to hold the light rig, but that’s optional. I could have just as easily hand-held it or had someone hold it for me. I’m still claiming victory.

And the results speak for themselves. I’d charge for those photos in good conscience and will proudly add them to my portrait portfolio. Not bad for $100 USD, eh?

model shot three

Pro results on budget

model shot two

It would take a little more work for a commercial client but not much



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  • Bruce Brown

    your saying you will sell me that portait lighting for 100.00 dollars, where are you situated? i may want to buy one

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