Little Skull's Six Light Studio Portrait Setup

We've been asked for a while how we light our studio portraits of some of our most popular photos. We are going to show you step-by-step how we create our Six light Studio Portraits. This complex yet beautiful studio portrait lighting setup will help you create amazing portraits right out of camera with very little if any photoshop needed, maybe a little dodging and burning to make the final picture to look more dramatic.

What we use:

  •  Seamless Background Paper
  • 6 Paul C. Buff Einstein Strobe Lights
  • 1 7in Reflector w/ 20% Grid
  • 2 Paul C. Buff Strip Boxes w/ Grids
  • 1 Mola Demi Beauty Dish w/ 20% Grid
  • 1 84in Impact Octagonal Softbox w/ Grid
  • 1 Impact Small Softbox w/ Grid


  1. Hang seamless background paper around 9-10 ft high. Allow the paper to hang to the floor.
  2. Place subject at least 6 ft from background.
  3. Place strobe, 7in reflector w/ 20% grid on a stand directly behind the subject about 2 feet from seamless paper. We are lighting the background starting behind the subjects neck/shoulders. Meter  the background to f/5.6 at its hot point.
  4. Place two strobes with stripes and grids on either side of the subject pointing directly to the subject's shoulder/ side of head. Meter both strobes separately to f/8.
  5. Place another strobe with gridded small softbox on a strobe directly above subject. Meter to f/5.6
  6. For the main light we are using the gridded Beauty Dish w/ strobe directly in front of the subject around 3-4 ft away, angled slightly down around 1 foot above the subject. Meter this to f/5.6
  7. For the fill light we will be using a strobe and the 84in Octa w/ grid around 10 feet directly in front of the subject. The fill will end up being metered to around f/4. (You want a combined aperture of f/8 between the main and fill. )
  8. Once you have all your lights setup the working aperture should read around f/8.3 we shoot at f/9