Skip to main content

Lighting Groups: 1, 2, and 3 Lights

Lesson 37 from: Studio Lighting 101

Lindsay Adler

Lighting Groups: 1, 2, and 3 Lights

Lesson 37 from: Studio Lighting 101

Lindsay Adler

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

37. Lighting Groups: 1, 2, and 3 Lights

Build these go-to group lighting set-ups into your repertoire. Learn easy lighting set-ups for using a single light, or one or two.


Class Trailer

Day 1


Studio Essentials: Shutter Speed


Studio Essentials: Flash Exposure


Studio Essentials: White Balance


Light Principles: Inverse Square Law


Lighting Patterns


Shoot: Demo Lighting Patterns


Quality of Light and Modifiers


Shoot: Choosing a Modifier - Diffusion and Grid


Shoot: Choosing a Modifier - Umbrellas


Shoot: Choosing a Modifier - Softboxes


Shoot: Choosing a Modifier - Extra Stuff


10 One Light Set-ups: 1 and 2


10 One Light Set-ups: 3 to 5


10 One Light Set-ups: 6 to 10


One Light Set-ups: Pop Quiz


Day 2


FAQ for Purchasing Studio Light Part 1


FAQ for Purchasing Studio Light Part 2


FAQ for Purchasing Studio Light Part 3


10 Two Light Set-Ups: 1 and 2


10 Two Light Set-Ups: 3 to 6


10 Two Light Set-Ups: 7 to 10


5 Two Light Set-Ups: 1 & 2


5 Two Light Set-Ups: 3 to 5


5 Basic Three Light Set-Ups: 1 & 2


5 Basic Three Light Set-Ups: 3 to 5


5 Intermediate Three Light Set-Ups: 1 to 3


5 Intermediate Three Light Set-Ups: 4 & 5


10 Common Lighting Mistakes


Day 3


Solving 12 Common Problems of Studio Lighting: 1


Solving 12 Common Problems of Studio Lighting: 2 to 6


Solving 12 Common Problems of Studio Lighting: 7


Solving 12 Common Problems of Studio Lighting: 8


Solving 12 Common Problems of Studio Lighting: 9


Solving 12 Common Problems of Studio Lighting: 10 to 12


Portrait Lighting: 1, 2, and 3 Lights


Beauty Lighting: 1, 2, and 3 Lights


Lighting Groups: 1, 2, and 3 Lights


Lighting for Drama: 1, 2, and 3 Lights


Your First Studio Lighting


Lesson Info

Lighting Groups: 1, 2, and 3 Lights

And I'm going to recruit my lovely audience again, okay? And we're going to switch our modifiers so just summarize what we want for modifier because they want a larger modifier so that we can back it up and it will still be a large light source that khun evenly like the group and ideally, we add some sort of deficiency. I will start off with let's do the umbrella with diffusion if we can uh it does not particularly matter, probably the silver is probably easier to work with. He asked me if I wanted the shoot through umbrella or the silver umbrella and there's not really, there is a difference, but I don't really have a preference for this. The shoot through for me is a little harder to work around it's a little excited put the reflective behind me and I feel like the shoot through gets in the way shoot there would be softer light is a little less control, though it kicks the late a little bit further everywhere, which might be good, but when you had the diffusion on this, controls the ...

light a little bit more, someone turn off these lights and grab my group and I'll go back through the rules of lighting a group bring this back tio great way lower told which made this nation great, ok, wonderful group see if I center you this time alright shifted like a half foot left okay good good display my left sorry you know okay, great and you're good now and now everyone looked like you actually know each other who those chairs closer will you know each other now and have your friends right? Yeah, well, I thought some people whose faces didn't smile he was not think that your friend he was like very serious he's like all right, so well they're setting this up with my little posing could you put your hand on her shoulder? We're pretending this is a family portrait. Okay, could you put your hand on her shoulder on this side? Yes, this is is there like a highlight? Okay, great! And then I'm going to have you lean in so I'm leaning towards him a little bit any time that there's depth, it makes group photos more difficult, so if I can avoid it, I don't wanna have a group sitting than two feet behind them another set of people and then three feet four feet behind them another set so I can get them closer on the same plane than lighting is easier to work with. This also is something you want to watch out for if you're shooting groups on stairs a church because if you are working and height and you have them a lot further back on the stairs, it might actually affect the lighting. All right, so this is going to be with just one light and what you want to keep in mind is you don't want the light really, really close because these people will be very bright and the people on the other side will be darker, so you want to back it up a little bit and you could shoot flat on, but that will create slightly more problems with glasses for reflections, so I know I want a raise the light up a little bit, so I have a little bit of shape on the face. I do want them to pump up the back of their glasses to the glasses are angled down slightly that helps me out and then the people with glasses I have them facing this way and I'm going to move the light on the left hand side because then when it does broad lights, them changes the angles of the light to the glasses, so it gives me less reflection. So I'm going toe in eagle that and if you move the light really far off to the side, you'll want to add a white reflector, but we may not need that in this instance, alright hitting the expensive thing it okay, good, all right when you give me a test in the little perfect ok and so probably if I if I had him meter across sure they would be a little bit darker but if I brought this late really close it would be a problem I have to back up a little bit to give me some flexibility to have even lighting so let me set this aito and I'm going to back up and zoom in to try to compress them against the background ah little bit more this is a lovely family photo cute excellent poli look ahead isn't so this is going to I said proposing the side of the face that she prefers is most definitely her right hand side over there so what she keeps doing as she keeps turning her head back which turns it towards the light so I just have to keep ahead neutral but I could if we had more time switch your overs that she's more comfortable but let's keep it a little more well that's why? I have a tiny bit of highlight but remember the part on the side of the face that they prefer in general ok one more all those good from the hand back up like a good families good perfect okay, so that is decent family portrait like if you had one light especially if you want to like them on a white background but let's take a look if I bump it up to two lights and you guys won't be able to see this spot allah I'll read it out to us you can see what's on the kino okay so you can see over they're perfect if there was a lot of shadow on this side like I brought this late way over I would need to add a little bit of white reflection reflector so the next thing I do large saw fox this is a large soft box fundamentally is it actually soft bucks no large umbrella with the fusion but it acts very similar so we're going to leave that up and then what I can do is I could start to bring this further to the side to create more shape on your face maybe on super bored by that last lighting setup I would probably shoe on a slightly darker background as well, but it looked okay had that white high key so what we're going to do is I'm going to bring this off to the side a little bit more for a little bit more drama but there might be too much shadow on this side on the right hand side so we'll add some reflection and I'm going to try not to hit this again just so there's just no way went over here I got it maybe turned towards you well ok, so let me watch the back I almost knock this off this thiss tv was on a stand behind me and I almost knocked it off once it would've been really bad ok, harry got let me test this is just the left hand light the main soft box there's no light on the right hand side anymore are yet let me get my family portrait okay, so the light looks good, but if you look at the photograph, some of the shadow areas on the right hand side particularly if you look in the right bottom right, starts to get dark so maybe I want that to be even doubt or concern out for one more something else let me shoot whiter step way back here he'll be able to see it this way there's a shadow catherine the background we talked about how to remove shadows, but you're kind of going to have to work with this here ideally and shooting a darker background so you wouldn't see it as much and some of the things that sticks shadows are softer light sources we have a soft light source another thing would be to bring it closer to you. Well, I can't bring it to much closer because then the group will be unevenly let so has that going on I could raise the late up a little bit and that would be one solution the downside is if I raise that light up that maybe the people in the bottom sitting over here might be a little bit darker so I might raise it up and pointed down if I'm trying to get rid of some of those shadows on the background but I also feel light will help me win a pop in a little bit of light and fill in some of those shadows kind of flatten things out in the thing I want to be careful with is taking a look at any reflections that are created in the glasses so take a look here perfect all right so I that might have been pretty good I don't see really any reflection to see very minimal if any but what it did is it pop some light into the darker shadow areas especially say there was a kid sitting over here no that was just a little bit darker and the ground pops it in fills in the shadows and also fills in some of the shadows in the background you can take a picture I mean can't you ok oh so good but can I like neil next year okay one more water okay good a group family fortune perfect all right so let's pump onto the next one please pop up on kino so the next thing you can do this this would be more with a dark background and I don't really I don't think that would have set up many of the flats so should we do yeah so let's just imagine on this one because we're timessake what we would do if this were a dark background and you can you can describe how you want it you do it it's only think this tripoli if this were a black background what would happen is you have dark hair for example and you're wearing a dark shirt on the right and they would blend into the background if this were a black background so what john would dio is he could get a soft box right there and that becomes a hair like that sweeps over everybody without it sweeps over everybody without hitting it any light on the face is not going to hit incorrectly but just give kind of a halo around the hair you would need a boom arm for example thiss gets a little bit more complicated but if you shoot a lot of groups this would be a leading said if you'd want to know I always have people with dark hair on dark background say I can't see my hair I heard that endless so you would need to know howto work ah hair lights that's perfect great thank you and he would want sandbags and counterweights and things like that so it's not to crash on your group okay the other one would be if you go for higher key in this case you take this large soft box and put two lights on the background on and just use this as you did before but what you want to be careful of in this particular instance is when your light in the background some people will be closer to those sidelights so if you don't mind I'll try this and show you what you'd have to watch out for you kind of worried about spill on those subjects so let me I want to move this this way for a sec perfect all right, so let's say you have a small space and I'm trying to like this white the person on that's closest to these room lights is probably going to get a little bit of a spill on them and so what you might have to do is you might have to use your v flats or some kind of phone court to block it off and I want to be able to point it feathered across the background so that it's nice and even but when I do that it starts to point on his side of the face and you can see that on the left hand side of his face so you could use a barn door to try to help lock that light off when it would probably be a better idea if you had to be flat you could use to try that but you're definitely working in close quarters here to get high a portrait so somewhere right around there should be good and that would be true for both sides, and I'm watching when I close the barn door that I'm not blocking this light off of the background but and said just off of my subject and still hitting him a bit so with the best case scenario would be is the further you can move them away from that background, it puts them in a different lighting zone you like the background on one's own like the four grown on different zone and they're not interacting you can of course try to hold the, uh, black flat there or I'm just going to change the angle a bit, so we'll see how this works got the lead after the side again, we're going to use a little bit of phil light, a little bit of phil card let's give this a try. I have no idea what the power of my background is, so that may have to be adjusted. Okay, you guys are looking cute little more get the background looks good, nobody's following too much to shadow and no reflections from glasses. So I think that achieves a lot of the problems that people run into will address seeing the sides of the background here, and I noticed there aren't really any shadows the only shadow I see is maybe the back right hand side and I could fix that by turning the light power turning a light down pointed downward a little bit for the background here they fill it up because it's a large group if they actually were a family I'd make them squish closer together but they are so we'll make you do it too much but some of the things that would help me as well is if I could back up a little bit further if I stood here I'm at the very edge you probably don't want to get me and but very very edge of the stage here I could get them in the white background fully no problem although I'm wiggling so I got a little bit on the left but in other words they all fit to trying to keep those things in mind and if it pulled them way way out it would make the problem worse so in this case it actually would be a good scenario. Have them closer to the background. Okay, let me see if you guys have questions but you have to go that way apparently so they go to you first. Okay, you guys, you're good. Thank you. Could you just remind us how far these from the back row of folks for these lights you say like two and a half feet three feet three feet of rain from this the were not from the background but from the light is light so I lied to them about two and a half feet. Yeah, they're very, very close to those lights. In a perfect scenario, I'd have a massive space with twelve foot seamless. They have the tools that seamless, and if I had to shoot a lot of groups like that, maybe that would be something that I would invest in, or if you have one large white wall and you can put down, uh, white fabric on the ground. That might be another solution if you're lighting groups all in white. Okay, all right. And one more question from a studios in the uk in the group shot. Does it help if you put the people with the darkest close closest to the light source? Yes, absolutely there's more considerations, like if you put someone with black close close to the light source, but they have blond hair that way you have more considerations and that, but definitely if there's somebody wearing white, you wouldn't want them right next to a light. You can kind of hide the mistakes you're working around by keeping that in mind.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Keynote 1
Keynote 2
Keynote 3
Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews


If you're on the fence about this class I can easily answer your concerns. BUY IT. Lindsay provides top notch professional education while keeping things interesting. Her words are precise and direct. I actually felt GOOD just watching and learning. I mean, like someone surprised me with a cupcake kinda GOOD. After the class I could immediately see improvements in my photography. The best part is that I learned enough to see the wrong in my setups. Knowing what's wrong is just as important as knowing what's right. She is funny, easy going, energetic and filled with knowledge. I would also highly recommend her Posing 101 class as a must have addition to this course. I feel like I have learned more than I could possibly use. I will be going through this course over and over again just to make sure it all sinks in. There's THAT MUCH she offers that you will always learn more with each time you watch. I hope this helps someone make the decision to up their game. That is exactly what it did for me.

Jason Ashley

I loved this course! Lindsay spent so much time with explaining each set-up in-depth that anyone picking up a camera could understand how to accomplish their lighting goals. This course covered so many unique (but, most likely to come across scenarios) and how one would approach the challenge and how to successfully accomplish with incredible results, not average-sub-standard or basic results, but above entry-level standards, high-level, money-generating lighting expertise! ZERO laziness in her explanations to the point where she is constantly refining her course in the middle of the 3 days. Her passion gleams throughout each days lessons with so much energy. You know she really wants her students both in-person and through the screen to be successful in whatever type of lighting they choose to dabble in. I am so happy, I have bookmarked, and i'm so happy and fortunate to have this course to reference for hopefully –everrrr. Thanks!

Beatrice Palma

Hi, I am Beatrice from Italy. I think this class is superb. I finally understood what are the guide lines to follow, I tried for years but never found such a good explanation. Lindsay is a wonderful teacher, she explains in a simple way, she shares a lot of knowledge and she shows in practice what are the results of every single choice. Thank you so much, it was really amazing and super interesting!!!!

Student Work