I was hired to shoot red carpet style portraits when guests arrive at an event. I elected to use a Profoto umbrella (m- white) with their diffuser added, and two flash units on the only umbrella as key light, plus a shoot-through umbrella off to the side for fill.

But the problem I faced that was harsh light. Guests appeared to have quite greasy skin, so I got hotspot reflections for instance on their foreheads.

Can anybody tell me how to make this light softer?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Are you asking about other light modifiers, cheap hacks to improve what you’ve got, something else? \$\endgroup\$
    – OnBreak.
    Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 4:42
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Diagram of lighting setup and sample photo of results would be helpful. \$\endgroup\$
    – xiota
    Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 6:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Stephen K has the how to handle the event before taking the shots in case you have some shot that need fixing here is my favourite tutorial for fixing the issue in Photoshop: techwalla.com/articles/… Just in case you might need that too. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ian Lelsie
    Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 21:15

1 Answer 1


This is a common issue when someone doesn't understand how modifiers actually work. Basically, your lights/modifiers are too far away to be "soft." Anything over ~ 5x the diameter/diagonal of the modifier makes the modifier entirely ineffective.

For an event like this it is unlikely that you will be able to place lights/modifiers, that are large enough, close enough. So your best bet is to not use the modifiers (umbrellas) and reduce the amount of light the strobes add (use higher ISO's).

enter image description here


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.