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I'm shooting interviews with WW2 veterans living in Israel, to preserve those incredible stories. Due to COVID, I'm unable to continue shooting those interviews indoors, to avoid potentially infecting the interviewees. I'm trying to achieve an as-high-as-possible level of photography. My ultimate (probably unachievable) goal is a 60-Minutes-esque interview feel and look.

Currently, my main issue is lighting. It's too hot to meet in a park before the last hour and a half of the day, so I'm shooting through the sunset time, when much of the interview takes place when it's already dark.

I'm shooting with a Canon 70D, using a "pancake" lens (Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM Lens), in an attempt to achieve shallow depth of field. (I also have an ND filter, but it's irrelevant for those lighting conditions)

As recommended by Doug Jensen, I'm placing the key light on the side to which the interviewee is lookin towards and the back light right behind them, or slightly on the side: Doug Jensen basic 2-light setup, as described in "How to Set Up and Shoot Awesome Interviews with LED Lights"

My current lighting gear:

  • Key light: Godox LEDP260C Bi-Color LED Light Panel (3300K–5600K color temp. range)
  • Back light: Godox RGB M1 LED (2500K–8500K color temp. range).

I'd greatly appreciate any recommendations regarding a setup for this unique situation. Mind that I'm doing this all alone, I don't have a team with me.


I was thinking of adding a fill light on the other side of the interviewee, in a similar angle of the key light. Can a reflector do the job? Or should I get just another Godox for this task?

One of my main issues is that the background is literally changing throughout the interview, which makes editing harder. I was also thinking of using a background/backdrop that I will bring with me, but due to the fact that I'm doing this alone -- I'm afraid this would be just too much equipment to carry and that it will take too much time to set-up. Is there some foldable recommended solution for such situations?


Just for example, this is how my latest interview looks (shot with the gear and setup described above) throughout it's "timeline":

Semion Zaslav 17.09.2020 interview - phase 1 Semion Zaslav 17.09.2020 interview - phase 2

Semion Zaslav 17.09.2020 interview - phase 3 Semion Zaslav 17.09.2020 interview - phase 4

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    Hi, this question is on the edge of what is on topic in this community as it is about video lighting in a context that might not be relevant to photography. I won't vote to close as I think it's interesting, but it might be closed or migrated to the video.se. You mention you want a "a 60-Minutes-esque interview feel and look". There's a recent video of the president of the USA walking out on the 60 minute interview, in the last few seconds of the video you see the (partial) light setup, perhaps it helps. – Saaru Lindestøkke Oct 28 '20 at 13:40
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    I really hope this question doesn’t get closed due to video. The specific text for that reason is “this question is about video that is not likely to be relevant to still photography.” Lighting setup is almost always relevant to still photography, and seeing how the lighting changes through sunset is both very interesting, and applicable to portraiture during that time. Can this be slightly workshopped to ensure the question stays open? – scottbb Oct 28 '20 at 16:47
  • @SaaruLindestøkke of course I've watched that :) And that's precisely the point of my question - I'm trying the archive something close to that, with a mobile outdoor oriented setup, as opposed to what you've seen in those "behind the scenes" frames. – golosovsky Oct 28 '20 at 18:25
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    @golosovsky Compared to your previous question, I think this one is more video-oriented. But I think it's a really good question, and I think there's enough here to justify its applicability to photography as well. My previous comment was oriented more towards anybody who might otherwise vote to close for reasons of video, is all. – scottbb Oct 28 '20 at 18:50
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    On my 70D, lens set to 50mm, I get your framing around 2.20 meters from the subject. – xenoid Oct 30 '20 at 10:35
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Eliminate the sun as a light source or over power it. I.E. remove the sun from the equation. (Your set up would work beautifully if you were shooting still photos but you are shooting video and your light source is changing "throughout it's timeline".)

Based on your photos it appears that you are using the ambient sun light as part of your light set up. The ambient light from the sun is acting as your Key light and the light you are using as your key is acting as a fill (and only as bright, maybe a little less bright,) then the Key (the sun). As the sun slowly goes away your "key light" goes with it.

If you set up with Three lights, same as you have but replace the sun with another light panel, this is your new Key light.

Make sure your new key is brighter then the sun when you start. As the sunlight goes away your subject lighting will not change, only the background will get darker.

The sun may be more powerful then your light panels and you may have to add a large diffusion panel, gobo or scrim panel to block the sun and keep it from over powering your light set up.

Of coarse you will set up your fill (light or reflector) and rim to work with your new key light set up.

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  • Wow! Thank you very much for that awesome perspective. I'd really appreciate a clarification on "The sun may be more powerful then your light panels and you may have to add a large diffusion panel, gobo or scrim panel to block the sun and keep it from over powering your light set up. Of coarse you will set up your fill (light or reflector) and rim to work with your new key light set up." – do you mean that I should first block/soften the sun with a scrim and then place a "replacement" key light (Godox/refl.) exactly from the angle of the sun? Or once it's blocked, I can use the orig. setup? – golosovsky Oct 30 '20 at 9:53
  • I'd appreciate an answer :) – golosovsky Nov 29 '20 at 10:49

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