There’s a heck of a lot you can do with one light when it comes to portraiture, give this a try and remember to join the Single Light Portraits Photo Contest.

Here are some quick tips for cool one-light shots:

1) Remember: the larger the light, the softer the light; the closer the light, the softer the light. Want soft, flattering portraits? Use a big light (in a softbox) and place it close to the subject. Note: moving a close-up light just a few inches can make a big change in how the shadows fall on a subject’s face.

2) Want a dramatic portrait? Don’t light the subject’s entire face. Place your light off to the side for dramatic side lighting. Know that shadows are your friend. For starters, place the light at a 45-degree angle to the subject – slightly above eye level.

3) Try to position the light so the eyes are illuminated – or at least one eye is illuminated. Remember: the eyes are the windows to the soul.

4) Be aware of the background. With one light, it may be difficult to light the background. Use room lights or window light to illuminate the background, or let the background go black. There are no rules.

5) Experiment: Face the subject head on. Have your subject face the light (off to the side), and shoot. Then, have your subject face away from the light, and shoot – from the same position. Next, have your subject face the light and then face away from the light . . . as you move around the subject in an arch and shoot. You’ll see that the shadows on your subject’s face change as the subject moves and you move. Pick your ONE favorite shot from the photo session.

Learn more about lighting in Rick Sammon’s on-line classes and in his apps. All listed on his web site.