Classic, mysterious, stimulating: in this series I want the viewer eyes to be engaged on a variety of levels.

Scheduled for this event: a Low Key-Setting – at least in the beginning.

You might remember that I already designed a 4-Point-Beauty-Lighting the last time. However, this time all my focus and attention is dedicated to shadows, curves and accents.
According to the nature of this idea, I am shooting this one in front of a black background.

Four point lighting can be setup in so many different ways with equally different outcomes… –
but this time my exercise is to establish accent lighting step-by-step with the goal of a balanced finished result featuring four lights. However, the outcome of each single step (lights 1 to 3) itself can be used as an individual final result with an independent look and feel.

So I am testing rim lighting, accent lighting, catch lighting – starting out in a low key situation.

I am thrilled to once again having the fantastic chance to work with my good friend, the former Czech Playmate Dasa.

1 Flash Light - Czech Playmate Dasa - Four Point Studio Lighting - 24 Flash Lights - Czech Playmate Dasa - Four Point Studio Lighting - 2

Image Scenario: That’s what I’m Going For…

Classic, mysterious, stimulating: in this series I want the viewer eyes to be engaged on a variety of levels.

Obviously, the beautiful Dasa draws in our gaze first but on top of that, there is a heightened sense of mood achieved through the dramatic lighting. The satiny glow of her skin set against the severe geometry of her revealing shirt is a dynamic juxtaposition that keeps our sight line fluid and moving.

The play of light and shadow is in the beginning intense, with deep contrast between soft highlights and dark areas. Dasa’s postures are emphasized by the stark lighting gradient, which creates a mysterious and alluring effect. Placed against a black background and standing in profile, one is filled with visions of an actress on stage about to recite – especially in the black and white converted images.

My Need to Mix Flash Pack & Head-Systems & Light Modifiers

To implement my concept, I have to play with several light modifiers. As you know, the modifiers (light shapers) for light sculpting are much more important than the strobe-heads themselves.

Right now I don’t have all light modifiers for one system at hand, so I have to mix my own lighting-equipment with studio equipment. My plan is to use a mix of standard reflectors, strips, a beauty dish and grids. Yet some of these modifiers are available for a specific system only. So I go ahead and mix the two flash-head systems in order to get my desired modifiers operational. Finally, I work with a Profoto pack & head system (ProB) and my own Multiblitz monoblocs (portable monolight- heads).

Light Modifiers Used

  • Key Light (Main Light)
    Using a standard reflector with grid (honeycomb) for setting the prevailing mood of the shoot.
  • Fill Light 1
    Using a strip-softbox for rim lighting and accentuating the body’s shape.
  • Fill Light 2
    A beauty dish with grid is creating a more dominant fill and more importantly: catch lights.
  • Background Light
    A snoot (spot modifier) with grid pops creates a more accentuated and atmospheric visual background-structure.

4-Point Lighting Set Analyses 3D

Simulated Results: 1 to 4 Lights

1 Studio Photo Lights - Four Point Lighting - Results - by Dan Hostettler

Angle 1: 1 to 4 Lights

Angle 1 - 4 lights - 4-Point Lighting - BTS - 3D Simulation

Angle 2: 1 to 4 Lights

Angle 3: 1 to 4 Lights

Behind The Scenes

Four Point Lighting - Light Setup Behind the Scenes by Dan Hostettler - 1500

Results Color & B/W

Basically, I like the color images as shown here a lot. But to get a better idea about an artistic touch – especially for the photos with one or two lights only – I also converted the results into black and white.

Tech-Sheet: Lighting & Settings

  • 2x ProHead on Pack-System (Profoto ProB Generator)
  • 2x 400 Ws Monoblocs (Multiblitz)
  • Key light: standard reflector with grid from top right (Profoto)
  • Fill-in light 1: strip softbox from left (Photoflex’ HalfDome on a Multiblitz)
  • Fill-in light 2: beauty dish with grid from right (Profoto)
  • Background light: snoot with grid from top left pointing down the background (Multiblitz)
  • Camera: Nikon D700
  • Lens: 80-400, @approx. 100mm
  • White Balance: 4800K
  • F-stop: 13
  • Shutter: 1/125
  • ISO: 200

Lighting Diagram

Set plan & Lighting Diagram - 4 Point Lighting - Accentuated Low Key Lighting

Simulating Light with “set.a.Light.3D”

Since a few months, I am using a phenomenal special photographer’s software for my studio shooting preparation work, my educational approach and for illustration purposes – it is called “set.a.light.3D.”

This inexpensive program provides you with everything you need and enables you to create and read lighting setups in no time!

Note: Link to set.a.Light.3D on this image:

set.a.light 3D - The flash simulation for studio photography

set.a.light 3D STUDIO is available in English and German language.

I am a very big fan of it! And what’s more, this is the one and only piece in existence that concentrates on setting and calculating lights while it has nothing to do with 3D creation (!). It’s all about supporting you in designing your light sets.

After the expiration of your trial download, you will still be able to use the viewer. This way you can keep on seeing my lighting plans for free as I will make them available for you here.

4 Flash Lights - Czech Playmate Dasa - Four Point Studio Lighting - 1 - bw

ESSENTIALS. Studio Lighting for Nude Photography feat. Jenni Czech & Melisa Mendini

ESSENTIALS. Studio Lighting for Nude Photography

Lighting Blueprint. Theory, showcases and exercises. Extensive theory part to strengthen your practical work. 19 all-inclusive case studies/lighting setups for 1, 2, 3 & 4 lights. Featuring Jenni Czech & Melisa Mendini. Sexy Women Photography at its best!