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Over-under soft box butterfly light

This is a very versatile and extremely easy to work with light set up. When you look through the fashion magazines, you find it used a lot. I like to think of the soft boxes as being the butterfly wings but the real butterfly is from the small shadow created under the noise. This harkens back to the old Hollywood glamour light which was done with much harsher lights and created that very distinct butterfly shadow. This is a modern evolution of that early light set up.

For the Model

This is a very easy light to work in. By pointing your noise at the camera or at the light source you will be in your light. You can move your head more to the side and pick up a Rembrandt lighting effect or if you have a strong profile you can even work further over. You may need to make individual adjustment to show your best features (chin up, chin down, right or left side). You will have to experiment to find this but this light set up will bring it out.

For the Photographer

The main light is the top soft box set above the camera lens height and right next to the camera. I use a 48" X 36" size soft box for doing head and shoulder to 3/4 length. For full length I might use a larger box. Right below this main light is a second soft box which works for the fill light. I use a smaller 36" X 24" box for this one but the same size as the main box would work. The key is this over under set up of the soft boxes and keeping them close to camera position. I know some folks shoot in a gap between the two boxes but prefer to have them just next to the camera. You can ratio the main and the fill for the effect you want (1:2, 1:4, or more). You can add a hair light and a background light if needed.

This set up creates a soft direction light that helps bring up the cheek bones. It is a very easy light for a model to work in as all she/he has to do is point their noise at the camera.

 

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