Back to the Future of Lighting

Using what you may already have (or not) to get a new look.

Christine Carib Fashion-078_FB.pngMy goal for this new look is to NOT USE SOFTBOXES.  While I love them I find them to have lived their life cycle in my Studio.   So I am going back to a time when we did not have 3×4 or 4×6 walls of light!  BTW these softboxes can be very expensive too.   My real goal here is to eliminate hot spots (specularity) on her facial plane (cheeks, chin, forehead and nose).    Please notice in the image above that while we do have light and shadows we do not have any HOT SPOTS!  How did I do this?


So what is a “Parabolic Reflector?”

You will notice the simplicity of my set up here.  All I am doing is bouncing light from two inexpensive parabolic reflectors into two very inexpensive reflectors on to the subject who is simply posed on a stool between the lights.  There is no direct light falling on the subject.  Therefore, I have reduced the HOT SPOTS (specularity) to zero!  BTW the Parabolic Reflector is that simple cone shaped reflector that comes stock with your flash heads.  If you do not have flash heads (Dyna Lite, Photogenic, Profoto) and you are using Speedlights you can buy these simple parabolics for just a few ($7) bucks.  I always add a set of barn doors ($35) to the setup so I have even more control of the light.


Setup is very simple too and you do not even have to use reflectors if you do not have them.  Just go to Lowes or Home Depot and get 4×8 sheets of white insulation (2″ is best) and stand it up at 45 degree angle to your subject.  Sue Bryce has been doing this for years with her “Flats.”  In this setup the secret piece is the middle reflector.  This is the Westcott Omega Reflector Kit.  It is priced at $99 from  



What is different about this reflector?  It has removable panels in the center so can shoot thru the reflector.  So this third reflector serves as a fill panel on the subject and really balances the light striking the subject!   When used alone this reflector can be a kind of ring light reflector the available light on to your subject.  I love this simple piece of gear that has both silver and gold on each side. 

If you find this simple set up to be helpful, or have questions just shoot me a PM on Facebook –  or email me at .  I will be more than happy to elaborate on how can you use what you have to improve your lighting.   See more on my facebook page called Photo FAQs –

You can see my commercial work at

John Chandler and his wife Teresa are the creative talent at Chandler Studios located in the Historic District of Richlands, NC.  They are both active Photographers and members of PPA, PPNC and the venerable Professional Imaging Group of North Carolina!



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