using video light .. (model – Amy)

A portrait of Amy, one of our models at the recent workshop in Brighton, UK.  Here we used a single video light on her.

I love the dramatic quality the light imparts, and how you can flag the light with the barn-doors to create a specific fall-off to the light in the background.  The strong vignetting helps in giving it that dramatic look.

In figuring out the direction of light, and how to place the video lighting, I am largely guided by way the shadow of the subject’s nose is falling across her face.  I then direct the model and the person who holds the light, to move slightly if needed.  I usually don’t want the nose to cast a shadow across the cheek that blends into the other shadow areas.

As you can see from the shadow of her nose, the video light was to the camera left.  In looking at this photo now in editing it, I think it might have been improved if the video light had moved slightly more to the camera’s point of view, so that the shadow of her nose is even less obvious.  Then the way the left side of her face is shaded would’ve been less steep as well.

It’s in this analysis afterward of a photograph that we learn how to improve the lighting and composition and posing for the next time!


20 Comments, Add Your Own

  1. 1Eileen says

    It looks pretty good to me, Neil. The video lighting was one of my favourite parts of the day. I love the dramatic quality of the light, and how it is so flexible.

  2. 2Byron says

    Hi Neil,
    I love the way the vido lighting comes out in a shot. I have a Nikon D200 would this light work with this camera? It’s not like the Nikon D3 or D700 with ability to work with the high ISO.

  3. 3 says

    Byron, with the D200 you might want to use an 85mm lens like the 85mm f1.8 and let the wider aperture help you in staying below 800 ISO on the D200.

    Neil vN

  4. 4Marlon says

    Where there 2 lights used? Or rather, what did you do to make the wall blue, without interfering with the main light.

  5. 9 says

    David sent me an edit of the photograph, where the shadow next to her nose has been lightened in Photoshop, and I think this improves the image.

    Neil vN

  6. 10David says

    Hi Neil,

    Thank you for your kind words and for displaying the edited version, I’m pleased you like my retouch, after reading your comments I thought I would try and make it look as if an extra low powered fill-in light had been used.
    To try and achieve this effect I lightened most of the important shadow areas on Amy, the side of her nose (as you mentioned) under her nose and bottom lip, down the side of her face, her neck and lastly her arms.

    It’s a shame its not possible to do a roll over before and after. Wait! What am I saying, just remembered this is your photography blog not my image manipulation blog (not that I have one!) :-)

    Also if it is helpful for others. Instead of Photoshop I used GIMP portable (open source software) it’s almost as powerful as Photoshop but is free for anyone to download and use plus it doesn’t need to be installed.

    Kind regards,

  7. 11 says


    Once again great shots! I also own a Lowell ID video light but for some reason the KV temperature of my light and its quality of light does not look anything like yours. Did you gel and or modified your light in some way? In addition, how do you deal with mixed lighting situations when dealing with your video light? I was thinking maybe changing my bulb out.



  8. 12 says

    No modification to the video light, but I do adjust my WB as part of my normal raw workflow.

    What WB do you set your camera to? And what camera are you using?

    Neil vN

  9. 13Brian Hurdle says


    I love this shot of yours. The lighting is perfect and the pose is great. I remember our workshop here in Austin but do you ever have to direct your models?


  10. 14 says

    Brian, I do direct the models somewhat at the start of each section. And in this case, you just had to be there to see my languishing like that against the wall in a dramatic fashion. ;)

    Neil vN

  11. 16 says

    I have both a 5D and a 40D; I prefer to shoot with the 5D. When shooting I usually shot in almost any WB mode because I’m shooting in raw; unless I am gelled. Is this a mistake on my part? Below is a link to a photo I shot while practicing. Notice how reddish his skin tone is, this is not what I am looking for.

  12. 17 says

    I have both a 5D and a 40D; I prefer to shoot with the 5D. When shooting I usually shot in almost any WB mode because I’m shooting in raw; unless I am gelled. Is this a mistake on my part?

  13. 18 says

    Lafyaette .. that portrait looks fine to me, even with the color cast there. What bothers me more is the pipe coming out from behind his neck.

    But send me the RAW file via email, and I will have a look if I can process it differently for you.

    Re the choice of WB. It is just better to have the approximately correct WB. This makes it easier to judge exposure on the back of the LCD. And it will also allow you to see if you are blowing out one of the channels more than RAW can fix for you.

    Neil vN

  14. 19Robin Horton says

    For those that may not be able to afford the Lowel I use a Paglight C6 with a 30watt bulb, cost £200 for light, 2 bulbs and battery pack with belt clasp.

  15. 20 says

    Why these things always come up in editing ? :-)
    I had always problem with this kind of things. I feel like I`ve had closed eyes through the photo shoot and then opened them in editing :-)

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