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The Basics of Glamour Photo Lighting on an Indoor Shoot

Glamour Photo Lighting with Jenni Czech

Getting your glamour photo lighting just right, can be one of the most challenging aspects of any shoot. Over the next few minutes, we are going to take you through the process setting up the ideal studio lighting for your next indoor photo shoot.

No matter whether you are a beginner or a pro, the ever evolving cutting edge of glamour photo lighting means that everyone has something to learn by keeping up to date with the very latest developments.

Jenni Czech in "The Basics of Glamour Photo Lighting"
Jenni Czech in "The Basics of Glamour Photo Lighting"Jenni Czech in "The Basics of Glamour Photo Lighting"

Choosing the Right Equipment for Your Shoot

One of the most important aspects of getting your studio lighting just right is making sure you choose the correct equipment.

In some respects, working on an indoor set is a lot easier than an outdoor one. An indoor glamour set will give you far greater levels of control over lighting levels and angles than you could expect with natural outdoor lighting. This greater control means that you can get the conditions exactly right, and make sure your model is photographed at their best.

Due to the limited availability of natural light that comes with the indoor set up, photographers looking for the perfect glamour photo lighting are forced to rely heavily on having the right studio lighting and flash lighting available to them.

The Conventional 3 Light Setup

The 3 light set up is the standard among indoor glamour shots, and can always be called upon as your go to lighting arrangement for any shoot.

So how does it work? As the name suggests, there are 3 elements which make up the 3 light set up, and each has a very specific role to play in giving you the perfect glamour lighting.

Flash Lighting Setup: The Key Light, Fill-In Light & Kicker Light (Separation Light)

The Key Light, Fill-In Light & Kicker Light (Separation Light)

Flash Lighting Setup: The Key Light (also known as Main Light)

The Key Light (also known as Main Light) with a Strip Softbox

Flash Lighting Setup: The Rim Light in the back (also known as Separation Light, Kicker Light)

The Rim Light in the back (also known as Separation Light, Kicker Light)

Flash Lighting Setup: The Fill-In Light & Kicker Light (Separation Light)

The Fill-In Light & Kicker Light (Separation Light)

Firstly you have your key light. This is your main light source for your lighting setup, and everything else really stems from the placement and intensity of this light. Placed at different sides or angles to your subject, the key light has the power to take your glamour photography to the next level.

The second light source used in the 3 light set up is sometimes called the fill light. These fill lights works with your main key light to emphasize shadowing and minimize the contrast effects in your photos.

With the third and final light source – the separation light (also known as kicker light, rim light) – you can separate the darkness between the subject of your glamour photography, and the darkness of your background.

Using Flash in Your Glamour Lighting

Using flash lighting correctly can be a tricky and complicated thing to get right. Applying a direct flash to the subject of your glamour photo lighting can create unnatural shadowing with the potential to ruin even the best glamour photography shoot. If you really have no choice but to use a direct flash, you would do best to position your model in as open a space as possible. Make sure you keep them away from walls which the light can bounce off.

A Few More Behind The Scenes

Educate Yourself and Practice

Getting your glamour lighting just right has the power to make your models look sensational. But it all starts with choosing the right photo light equipment.

If you know the kind of shoot you are aiming to create before you go into it, an experienced glamour photographer can choose the lighting technique which best suits his vision.

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About the Author: Dan Hostettler

Dan Hostettler: Photographer. Mediapreneur. Educator.
Working as a Professional Sexy Women Photographer he also is the Creative Director of StudioPrague and its Workshop Mentor.
Dan loves to travel, a good read, cinema and visual adventures. Addicted to Lighting, Women and Wordpress.

Share the knowledge. Share the love. Get more from Dan on Twitter.
Dan's personal website. And StudioPrague Private Photo Workshops, he is the owner of.


  1. Interesting set up for the fill light… looks like it’s set up to bounce from the floor.

    • Yes Dana. As there was no wall neither I’ve had any kind of reflector I decided to try a bounce from the floor. I could have use another (reflector) umbrella but this results were better. Photo lighting is no exact science and sometimes you just have to try things:)
      Thanks for your comment!

      • Hi Dan, The floor bounced fill light results were very good. I will keep that in mind… a very creative solution!

        It looks like you were shooting a medium format camera… was it digital or film? I still shoot film in mine from time to time… because I can’t justify the price of a digital back for my old Mamiya 645. I use my Canon DSLR to get some test shots (kind of like what used to be done with a Polaroid), and then I can switch to shooting film using the medium format camera and know that I’ve got a good starting point for exposure. The physical act of shooting film makes me think more about what I am shooting because of the limited number of frames on a roll, and knowing that you have to wait until it’s developed and scanned to see if you got it right. I still love the advantages of digital, but there’s something special to me about the thought process of shooting film that I still like to do it occasionally.

        • Hi Dana,
          thank you! Yes, just try things out. Doesn’t cost you anything with digital capturing.

          And this leads to the answer regarding “medium format camera”: I was taking on that set some shots with my old analog Hasselblad 500C/M. Just for fun. But we didn’t take enough Behind the Scenes photos showing me with my digital Nikon D2 (at that time). So i had to use the “me and my Hasselblad” photos. LOL.
          BTW: The slides (6×6) are excellent) – just scanning this things is a pain (costs).
          And yes: DigiBacks are quite expensive. We just rent them if we need this as requirement quality for a paid job.

          In my opinion it’s very nice and satisfying shooting from time to time still with good old film. I do sometimes particular b/w shots with my old Nikon FA.

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