Actually, it is quite simple, because you only need very little technology:
- A camera with a hotshoe connector for the flash trigger
- A flash trigger on the camera
- A system flash or studio flash
- A trigger for the flash, if this does not already have a radio receiver
- A softbox
- A black background
Of course you could also use a cable release between camera and flash, but that is very old-fashioned and unwieldy.
Any standard camera with a hotshoe connection and manual adjustment is sufficient. Note and adjust the flash sync time of the camera, 1 / 125s always works and actually you’re done.
System flash or studio flash
Not really decisive. A system flash even has advantages later due to its low performance.
The flash trigger
Each standard radio trigger is sufficient. Best to buy a set for camera and flash. They are already up for € 30 and they all work.
It should have a connection for each flash. Otherwise, it goes with any standard softbox.
The size of the softbox is only crucial for the surface of the illumination. If you want to take full body pictures, a big softbox with 1.2m or more is recommended. For a headshot or portrait 60cm to 90cm are enough.
The shape of the softbox
Is secondary to my kind of lighting. Personally, I prefer an octagonal softbox because of the possible round catchlight in the eye of the model (if it is visible).
The space for such a kind of lighting does not have to be very large. In my current studio I only have an area of 4x4m available and the area with the black background is only 3m wide:
But you can use a foldable black background in any room you can darken:
In most cases, that’s enough.
Basically, it is synonymous without flash meter. With a flash meter and measurement in the right place, you save a lot of test pictures and time.
The model is in front of the softbox (yellow) and outside the direct illumination through the softbox.
Only the light reflected from the rear Sofbox wall is used for lighting the model (feathering). This illuminates an extremely soft light, which is very different from the typical harder light of direct illumination.
Position of the model
The position of the model at a distance to the softbox (A, B) as well as its angle to the softbox determine the effect of the light in the image.
This can not be calculated, only by trying and changing the distances and the angle determine!
In the rarest cases one gets immediately an ideal result. If you use a studio flash with modeling light, the modeling light can help a lot in this case. It shows the lighting effect before triggering.
The distances A and B are very crucial for the image effect.
The distance A determines how much light reaches the shadow side of the model. The closer the model to the softbox, less light the shadows can lighten.
The distance B determines the quality of light. The closer to the softbox, the softer the light.