Creating the look of Sunlight in the Studio with Only 1 Light

In today’s photo deconstruction I’m going to show you how I use a single strobe to create the look of sunlight in the studio.

Even though I like to shoot in the studio, sometimes I like to emulate the look of natural light. Whether it’s hard bright sunlight or an overcast day. Sometimes it isn’t feasible to go outside (too cold, too windy etc) so it’s beneficial to learn how to make it look like natural light while indoors.

As you can see, this is a very simple setup using just a v-flat and a single bare bulb. I chose to put the subject inside the v-flat so that it gave more dimension, as opposed to just putting them in front of a white seamless.

To emulate sunlight you have to first think about what sunlight is. In most cases, (when not shrouded by clouds) it’s an extremely hard light source. So I can use a bare bulb or hard light modifier.

Now if you recall, the larger the light source is, the softer the light, so here I wanted to do the opposite and create more of a focused light source.

From here, it was just a matter of lighting poisoning in order to emulate sun light. A bit higher, and off center.

This is what was achieved straight out of camera: 5:00. I wouldn’t consider this a slam dunk, as I needed to edit out some of the lines, and give this an overall color grading to emulate sunlight more.

👉 Final: 6:32

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“I’m really loving how I can turn into a background, use it to fill shadow or add more shadows, and also as a changing room lol. I’m loving it.”

Jefferson L.