Headshot Lighting

Godox recently released a new X system strobe, the AD200. Its being sold in the US by Cheetah Light as the CL200X and by Adorama as the Flashpoint eVOLV 200. They are great little strobes, about the size of a speedlite yet much more output, longer battery life and faster recycle time. For me, it offers a great light for a portable Headshot lighting kit.

Here is a test I did the other morning, with 4 200s and some Westcott Apollo soft boxes.

The first setup is a “traditional” main plus fill with two lights aimed at the background and feathered to offer just a bit of kicker light to the subject.

I had the power set on the lights so the power ratio of main to fill was 1:2. The light ratio on the subject was less than 1:4 because the lights were so close together. In practical terms it offered a large wrapping light source with feathering. I like the lighting and the smooth gray background. 

The GFX50s with 120mm F4 lens stopped down to F8 makes for sharp facial features with the plane of focus transitioning to out of focus before the ear.

Here is the headshot;

And here is the lighting setup;

The second lighting setup is what I think of as “glamour” lighting. Its similar to the setup popularized by Peter Hurley. It creates a smooth north window light that is faltering to smooth skin. Three Westcott Apollo strip boxes surround the subject. I added a fourth 200 behind the subject with a 180 degree reflector to illuminate the background to get it to white. The power on the background light was set to blow out the background without bleeding onto the subject.

Here is the headshot;

And here is the lighting setup;

The AD200 is an ideal light for an on-location kit. They are small; sufficiently powerful; long lasting battery; fast recycle. The combination of lights, Apollo umbrella frame softboxes, and light stands create a much smaller kit than other options.

One other lighting setup I didn’t use for this test is to have the main and fill, a gridded 200 hair light and the background light. For this option I’d use the barn door / grid and fresnel head that comes with the 200 kit from the two suppliers I mentioned.

Here are links to the lights at two suppliers in the U.S. that I use. Both offer warranty service.



Note: I used an XT-1n X system controller/trigger on the GFX50s to remotely control power and fire the lights. It was configured with the Center Pin function set to ON. Godox is in the process of developing a Fujifilm variant XT-1 controller. It is due in mid-summer. That will permit using the lights in TTL mode as well as HSS.