On this video photographer, Gavin Hoey looks at how the placement of a single light source effects a portrait.
This video goes back to some light basics and looks at working with a single light source – in this case, a long narrow lightbox. The light source is placed in several different locations and Hoey marks how different the results seems each time.
The process here is simple enough – place the light on one side of the model measure the output and shot. Move the light a bit forward, measure again and shoot and so on. What Hoey does in the video it shows how different the model looks each time.
It really depends on the look that you are after but we would say that the best results look more three dimensional, meaning that your subject will not be lit evenly but on the other hand will not have one side which is completely lit while the other is completely in the dark (although this might work on rare occasions if this is what you are looking for).
If your light is either a little bit in front (and to the side) of your model or directly to the side you can achieve a satisfying result but for the most part your model will have to face somewhat towards the light (facing directly towards the camera is typically less advanced for this type of setup.
This is the point where it is a good idea to remind ourselves that you can use a single light source but still get a bit more light to the other side of your model by using a reflector.