I posted a picture to Instagram last week and one of the comments asked how it was lit, as it appeared to be a huge soft light source.

This is the picture I posted, it looks like a big soft light.

Big light from small flash

What you can’t see from the picture is the rest of the scene around the two models, so here’s another view, with a wider angle from a slightly different viewpoint.

Big light from small flash


You can see there is a window behind the models, giving a touch of a hair light, but it’s not lighting their faces. Lighting is two Speedlite 600EX-RT flashes in a single 60cm x 60cm Lastolite Ezybox. The position of the light was not changed for the wide shot or the close-up.

What I did was point the softbox straight up towards the ceiling.

In this kind of room you you’d expect room light to come from above, and so by lighting the ceiling it is coming from the right direction. The lit ceiling is big, much bigger than my softbox, so the light is softer on the models.

If you look closely at the wide shot you’ll see the shadows under the girl and the bed are directly beneath them. So the light must be coming almost straight down. The reason for the limited shows under their chins is the white bed linen that they are laying on. It is a handy fill reflector providing ample soft fill from really close to them – the sheets are in the picture.

E-TTL flash

I did use E-TTL flash for this, but needed to turn the power up a bit, just a quick adjustment of flash exposure compensation by about 1-stop was all I needed.

On my Speedlites and ST-E3-RT I use the custom function that allows me to simply turn the dial, to change the flash exposure compensation.

Camera & lens

EOS 5D Mark IV with a EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM lens.

Camera settings were 1/125s, f/4 ISO, ISO 160.



About the author

Full-time photo tutor and photographer. I love to share my knowledge and skills to make photos, videos and teach others. I write books and articles for photo magazines and I always have at least one Speedlite flash in my camera bag