Why you should get to know “Clamshell” lighting

When I started shooting in the studio, I had a garage, one light and one reflector. I call this the poor photographer’s studio. Honestly, most of us start this way. You’d be surprised how many looks you can get with this simple setup. One configuration you can do is called “clamshell lighting.”

What is clamshell and why do you need to know about it?

First, it is easy to do. Put your light source close to the model, directly in front and slightly above, tilted down. Now set a reflector directly below, at about the waist or chest level of your model. And that’s it! Of course you need to adjust the tilt or the height of your light source depending on how diffused you want your light (or maybe you want to deepen the direction of your shadows?), or move your reflector’s height depending on how soft you want the reflected light –  but as you can see, it’s a pretty straightforward set up.

Second, because it lifts the shadows, you do get this beautiful glowing light. 

You’ll see this light in a lot of fashion and beauty campaigns. Just look at the catchlights in the models’ eyes.

Here’s an example from a recent shoot (which was recently featured in the Mola blog) where I used one Einstein head in a Mola Demi beauty dish and one reflector. The beauty dish was about two feet in front of the model.



Photographer | Makeup and Hair: Kris Fulk

Model: Annie Bray

Retoucher: Siyana Kasabova

Once you’ve mastered the one light +  one reflector technique, take out the reflector and use another light! Get creative! Maybe even play with gels or golden reflectors. If you get stuck, there are plenty of inspirations.

But if you’re like me, once you start looking at catchlights, it will totally change the way you read magazines or browse Pinterest. I think it makes it more fun.

Moving blogs and joining Periscope

I don’t know what’s more daunting: creating a new blog post when moving platforms or starting another social media account. I have had my blog on Wordpress for a couple of years now, and trust me when I say I am not a prolific writer. However, I also started a Periscope account very recently. These two combined make me feel like a total Luddite! (And yes! I totally just used the word Luddite on this, my first new-blog post!)

If you haven’t heard, Periscope is the trendy social media platform to be on now, where people can broadcast live and an alert will notify you when someone you’re following is broadcasting. You can interact as it is happening, and people like Jeremy Cowart are hailing it as the thing that will change social media. Now there’s a prolific Periscoper (Persicopee? Persicopist? Something will catch on.)

I figured I better start now before someone takes my name (I’m looking at you @krisfulk on Instagram. I’m sorry if people are tagging you when they mean me). Social media real estate is really important these days, but then again, since Periscope is linked to your Twitter login, that may not even matter.

Are you a fellow Periscopian? Let me know and comment your name below. I’ll follow you and we can be our Periscopiest together :)